California: The US space organisation NASA has discovered a total of 104 planets outside our solar system, two of these planets have very similar Earth like features and it is not far fetched to think that their might be life on these planets.
NASA’s Kepler mission is on a mission called K2 nowadays and these planets have been found during this mission and it is named Kepler-186f.
Although Earth like planets have been discovered earlier but most of them are at least 40 times bigger than the actual Earth, Kepler-186f is more or less the same as Earth.
The director of NASA’s Astrophysics department, Paul Hertz said “The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth. “Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind’s quest to find truly Earth-like worlds.”
Kepler-186f is orbited by 4 smaller planets, all of whom are mountainous and are a little bigger in size than Earth.
Two of these planets are too hot to sustain life, while the other two are at a suitable distance from their star and they can be habitable. In other words water can remain in liquid state on the surface of these planets.
Kepler-186f gets a lot less energy from its star then the Earth gets from its sun, it takes 130 days to make a complete orbit of its star.
Thomas Barclay, a scientist from the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames said,
“Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has.
He further said “Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth.”
With each new discovery of potentially habitable planets outside our solar system the hope that mankind will one day migrate from Earth to colonize other planets gets stronger and keeps our imagination alive.