NASA Finds More Earth-like Planets Outside Solar System

from More planets that are near twins to Earth have been found outside our
solar system – tantalizing worlds that could host extraterrestrial

Astronomers announced Tuesday that, depending on definitions, they
have confirmed three or four more planets that are about the same size
as Earth and are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold “Goldilocks zone” for
liquid water to be present.

These planets are likely to be rocky like Earth, not gas giants or
ice worlds. They get about the same heat from their star as we get from
the sun, according to the latest results from NASA’s planet-hunting
Kepler telescope.

But although they may be close to Earth in size and likely temperature, they aren’t quite close enough for comfort.

Consider two of the new planets, the nearest to Earth discovered to
date. If they have atmospheres similar to Earth’s — a big if — one would
be a toasty 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) and the other would
hover around minus 20 C (zero F), said study lead author Guillermo
Torres, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics. Life conceivably could evolve and adapt to those
temperatures, he said.


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