Kepler-452b: Earth-like "older, bigger cousin" planet discovered

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The people over at NASA are now closer to finding a “new Earth” that is similar to the one we live in, as the agency’s Kepler mission yielded the discovery of a habitable “Earth-like” and supposedly habitable planet, along with 11 other candidates for the search for the “new Earth.”

The newly discovered planet was named Kepler-452b, is actually 60% bigger in diameter than Earth, and is thought to have a rocky composition.

“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,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0.”

Kepler-452b, compared to Earth, has a 5% longer orbit, spanning 385 Earth days. This is because the said planet is 5% farther from its Sun-like star compared to Earth to the Sun. Kepler-452the planet’s Sun-like staris estimated to be 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than the Sun. It has the same temperature, and is 20% brighter and 10% larger in diameter.

With all these similarities, NASA gave the Kepler-452b an interesting namesake.

“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, who 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.”

The Kepler-452 system is located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, and brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.