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NASA Scientists Discover 715 New Planets

May 14, 2014 | By: Cherleen Manette Aquino       Curious Mind
NASA Finds 715
New Planets
with Kepler Mission

by Cherleen Manette Aquino

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists added 715 new planets outside the solar system, making a total of approximately 1,700 planets in the galaxy. Launched in March 2009, the Kepler space observatory aims to uncover planets comparable to Earth — in or near habitable zones with the appropriate distance from a star at reasonable temperature that can hold up liquid water. 

Douglas Hudgins, NASA scientist from astrophysics division and exoplanet exploration program, called this discovery a key step towards the ultimate goal of Kepler space telescope "finding Earth 2.0." He also said, “Kepler has really been a game-changer for our understanding of the incredible diversity of planets and planetary systems in our galaxy." 

Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer from Harvard and Max Planck Institute, also said that it is a big step that there is a possibility of life somewhere else. Additionally, Sara Seager, astronomer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that they are confident that there are planets like Earth in other solar system and Kepler can see them. 

Among NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting space telescope discoveries included four planets that is almost two and a half times the size of Earth and can hold liquid surface water. Three of the planets are considered habitable zone and believed to possibly support life. Similar to the solar system that has eight planets and other “dwarf” planets such as Pluto and Eris, the newly-found extrasolar planets are closely grouped together in families. 

Kepler telescope uncovered the planets that orbit 35 different stars. NASA scientists verified the data taken from the Kepler’s voyage during its first two years. Using a new technique, the scientists expected to discover new planets more often with more comprehensive information. 

NASA and other space agencies are now working on the design of follow-on telescopes that can home in around the parent starts of the so-called habitable planets, where the temperature is likely to be appropriate for liquid surface water. 


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