Hundreds of Alien Planets That Could Support Life Found by NASA
June 18, 2010
NASA's Kepler spacecraft, made to look for other planets similar to Earths that could support life, has found 706 planets that very well may be able to do just that. The Kepler has found well over 150,000 stars with planets that orbit them that have been found to be just about the right distance from the stars to be Earth like.
Scientists use very strict tests to make sure that these planets are the right distance from the stars to have water that they could potentially have life, and even intelligent life.
"This is the most precise, nearly continuous, longest and largest data set of stellar photometry ever," said David Koch, the mission's deputy principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., in a statement. "The results will only get better as the duration of the data set grows with time."
Kepler currently monitors a star field in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra. The stars make up a full range of temperatures, sizes and ages. Many of them are stable, but others pulsate.
In this particular star field, Kepler has identified 706 planetary candidates, of which the data for 306 of these were part of the public data release this week.
The Kepler observatory will continue searching for Earth-like planets, including those that orbit stars in a warm, habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface of alien planets.
The Kepler was launched March 6, 2009 and is doing a fantastic job finding Earth-like planets. Many of the planets it has found will be looked at further and in the future more missions may be created to head closer to those certain planets.