Tuesday May 9, NASA announced that the Kepler telescope has confirmed additional 1,284 new planets outside our own solar system.
- The discovery gives us hope that somewhere out there, there is a star that is similar to ours, and perhaps we can discover a new Earth, says Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA headquarters.
So far Kepler has confirmed around 2,325 planets in total. Of the 1284 latest, more than 500 of them are stone-based planets of a size that is quite close to our Earth.
Nine of the planets are in addition in the so-called "goldie locks" zone, meaning at a distance to its star which gives a probable chance of a livable temperature on the planet's surface.
- But we have just started to discover what's out there and many more will be discovered going forward.
The Kepler telescope was launched into orbit in 2009, and has since been used to observe a tiny part of the starry sky. The telescope has also been searching for potential planets orbiting stars in the Milky Way.
- There are probably billions of habitable worlds just in our galaxy, Stofan said.
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