Kepler-22b: The Newly Discovered Earth-Like Planet 600 Millions Light Years Away

NASA has identified a new planet very similar to earth but approximately twice the size outside our solar system that might be able to support life. It’s been named Kepler-22b, after the orbiting telescope aircraft that discovered it, is about two and a half times the size of earth and is 600 light-years away, orbiting a sun-like star.

This newfound planet’s average surface temperature is believed to be a comfortable 72 degrees fahrenheit, which means it could sustain liquid water and puts it in the so-called ‘habitable zone.’

NASA has been planet hunting with its Kepler space telescope since 2009 and with the Kepler Mission has now identified over 2,300 potential planets, about 50 of which seem to have the right conditions to support life.

So planet Earth’s got competition or perhaps this announcement is just in time for humankind’s first step in inhabiting other planets, a back up plan if you would, in case things don’t work out here. Watch the first video for a basic breakdown of the new discovery and if you’re a real science geek, below that check out the Kepler Mission’s science team press conference which took place Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.

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