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Nasa’s Kepler Telescope Finds 10 More Planets That Could Sustain Life

Photo Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
by TR Pakistan

NASA has released its most detailed and comprehensive mission catalog of planets detected by its Kepler telescope. The telescope team has discovered 219 new planets, 10 of which are alike in size to Earth and orbit in the habitable zone of a star similar to the Sun. This result can have implications for the search for more life-friendly planets in space.

“This carefully-measured catalog is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions – how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?” said Susan Thompson, Kepler research scientist for the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and lead author of the catalog study.

Read more: 7 New Earth-Like Planets Discovered

NASA announced these findings on June 19, 2017 at a news conference at its Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California.

According to a press release, the catalog contains all the information from Kepler’s first four years of operation and could help scientists determine the demographics and prevalence of planets in the galaxy.

The Kepler data has also helped scientists discover two distinct groups of small planets. There are either rocky planets the size of Earth or gaseous planets smaller than the size of Neptune, with few exceptions to these two groups.

“We like to think of this study as classifying planets in the same way that biologists identify new species of animals,” said Benjamin Fulton, doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, and lead author of the second study. “Finding two distinct groups of exoplanets is like discovering mammals and lizards make up distinct branches of a family tree.”

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