Three new potentially habitable planets have been discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which is essentially a giant space telescope which monitors a 12 degree section of the sky and detects planetary bodies.
Two of them are around the same size as Earth and orbit a star called Kepler-62.
Because their parent star is only about two-thirds the size of our sun, the estimated surface temperatures of the two worlds is -3 degrees and -65 degrees Celsius. While that sounds very chilly, the calculation doesn’t take into account a potential atmosphere, which would act like a warm blanket, heating the planets up and possibly producing temperatures where liquid water could exist.
The other planet orbits another star, Kepler-69, and at first glance seems to be significantly more pleasant in temperature.
The other new world…has a radius about 1.7 times that of our own planet. Its surface temperature is estimated to be a balmy 27 degrees Celsius, basically beach-going weather. Given its size, it’s unknown exactly how Earth-like conditions on its surface might be.
The usual complaints about “why spend money on this instead of curing world hunger” abound. Here’s why we should.
This search is worth paying attention to — maybe even unthinkable to ignore. One of these discoveries will resound through history forever: the moment we discovered the next home of Homo sapiens. Imagine the eternal ramifications!. We’re living at an incredible time in history, advancing faster in Science and Technology at an exponential rate, dwarfing the past hundred thousand years of human endeavor in centuries. We’d be fools to blink and miss these keyframes of history.
Published on April 19th, 2013