For the first time since mankind began searching for planets that might be able to sustain life, there has been a breakthrough. (Finally!)
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope discovered a planet, Kepler 186f, in the Kepler 186 system that comes very close to having “Earth-like conditions”.
Kepler 186f, which is about 500 light years away from Earth, is the outermost of five planets that orbit a star, which is smaller and cooler than our Sun.
Kepler 186f orbits its star in 130 days and there is a very good chance that there could be liquid water on the surface.
The habitable zone, also called the Goldilocks zone, is when conditions are suitable enough to have surface water on a planet.
While an estimated 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbit in our Milky Way Galaxy, this is the first planet to be found in the Goldilocks zone of a star.
There are both similarities and differences between the two planets, leading to people call it Earth’s cousin rather than Earth’s twin.
Kepler 186f is 10 percent larger than Earth but its brightness at high noon is only about as bright as Earth is an hour before sunset.
We don’t know much more about this planet that lies in the Cygnus constellation just yet. There is some reason to believe that Kepler 186f will be a rocky world.
Some scientists speculate that the possibility of life existing on Kepler 186f is very high.