NASA's Kepler exoplanet explorer has confirmed the first Earth-like planet in the “habitable zone” around a star similar to our sun. This is in addition to the discovery of eleven other candidate planets, marking another milestone in the journey to finding other worlds like our own.
"On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun," declared John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the non profit’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0."
“We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, bigger cousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Jenkins led the team that discovered Kepler-452b. "It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet"
For more information on the Kepler Mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/main/index.html