On this day in 2015, NASA announced that the astronomers involved in the Kepler mission have discovered a new planet, similar to Earth. The planet is officially named Kepler 452b but is nicknamed as Earth 2.0. The planet is 60% larger than Earth, being classified as a “super-Earth.”
One more planet
Scientists believe that the planet is likely to be a terrestrial planet, meaning that it has a solid surface composed of rocks, although the mass of the planet have not been determined yet. According to NASA, the planet has an estimated age of 6 billion years (1.5 billion years more than Earth) and could have liquid water, active volcanoes and probably life.
“We can think at Kepler 452b as the greater cousin of the Earth” – Jon Jenkins, NASA
Jon Jenkins sustains that Kepler 452b can help us to understand how Terra evolved. He said that there was no evidence of any life forms on the planet, but he emphasized that if life forms are found on Kepler 452b, they will be totally different from what exists on Earth.
Can we travel there?
As a trip to Kepler 452b, Jeff Coughlin, SETI researcher, told a journalist that “You and I will most likely not travel to this planet, but probably the children of our children might. We can dream of this”
The larger cousin was discovered by Kepler, which was a space observatory launched by NASA in 2009 to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars.
Why is “Earth 2.0”?
Well, for humans any other planet has to be similar to Terra if we want to live on it. To believe that a specific planet could be inhabited by us has to fulfil certain conditions (we could rather say that humans have to fulfil certain conditions to live).
– Rocky planet with proper atmosphere – it means that a planet has to be solid for any human to live there plus a proper atmosphere for you to breath (75-80% Nitrogen, 15-20% Oxygen, 0-3% other gases)
– Similar mass/size to Earth – if the planet is way too big compared to Earth, also the gravity will be greater. Therefore, if the gravity is too big, you will not survive on that planet.
– Habitat zone – another important condition is the temperature of the planet. For the existence of life (advanced forms of life more likely) the planet has to be positioned on the so called “green area” from its sun. If the planet is too close, the temperature is too high, if the planet is too far away, the temperature is too low.