Scientists discovered another Earth!


Meet Kepler-186f – the another Earth like planet outside our galaxy.

This might be it. NASA discovered another Earth – planet that is very similar to the Earth by using Kepler Space Telescope. It is the first planet, which has got also similar size as the Earth. It was discovered as it is orbiting a star in the habitable zone. The habitable zone is the range of a distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet and there are the best conditions for life. This discovery was confirmation of the theory, that scientists already used before – it is possible to find another Earth exists in the zone other than our Sun.


Another Earth cousin Kepler-186f. Credit: PHL @ UPR Arecibo, NASA

Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system. This system is about 500 light years from the Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Another Earth is not the only planet that it is in the system. There are also another 4 planets. The surface is more likely to be rocky, but we do not know that for sure now. All planets orbits star, which is about half size and mass of the Sun.  The star is classified as an M dwarf, or Red dwarf. This stars make up to 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

Kepler-186f needs 130 days to orbit the star. It receives one-third of the energy from its star than the Earth gets from the Sun. This place it almost at the edge of habitable zone. The other four planets are already too close to the star, which make them too hot.


The diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Paul Hertz,  director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division in their headquarter in Washington said: “The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding world like our planet. Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite at the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind’s quest to find another Earth.” 


Of course, there are planets that has been found before in a habitable zones. But all of them are at least 40 percent larger than the Earth. That means that understanding of whether the planets will be another Earth is much more challenging that it would be with the planet similar, if not the same, size as the Earth.

Watch the video from the discovery of another Earth like planet below.

But if something is in the habitable zone, that doesn’t mean that it is habitable. There are many factors that decide whether the planet has real potential to be habitable and potentially be another Earth. One of them is an atmosphere, because the temperature of the planet is strongly depending on the atmosphere. That is why we can probably think about Kepler-186f as a cousin of the Earth than another Earth.


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Michaela Miklusak

Michaela Miklusak is deputy editor of and big technology enthusiast. Michaela now lives in Singapore, where she studies System Engineering and Informatics.

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