NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star.
The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the “habitable zone” — the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.
“This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.”
Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet and has 385-day orbit. The planet is 5 percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the Sun. Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 percent brighter and has a diameter 10 percent larger.