Though the planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope isn’t functioning due to failing machines, its legacy still lives on through the thousands of photos it took, revealing new exoplanets. On Thursday April 17th, Kepler-186f was discovered.
And it’s currently the best candidate for a sister earth because:
- The planet’s radius is only 1.1 times the radius of earth, meaning it is most likely a rocky planet
- It’s located in the habitable zone of its star
- There might be water… which generally leads to life
Instead of orbiting a normal sized star similar to our own sun, Kepler-186f orbits a red dwarf. This means the habitable zone is much closer to the exoplanet’s parent star in relation to our sun’s habitable zone.
Now here is the downside. Kepler -186f is nearly 490 light years away from earth! Even if humans miraculously invented a method of transportation which allowed for travel at the speed of light (like in Star Trek and Star Wars), it would still take almost 500 years to reach the planet.
In short, our potential sister earth is far out of reach… Oh well!
Reminder, COSMOS is on FOX tonight at 9pm!
(Sources: NASA, Space.com)