Astronomers Find ‘Earth Twin’ in Nearby Star System


NASA scientists announced today the discovery of a planet that is the most like our own than any they havediscovered, the NYT reports:

The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding misison, which found it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.

“It’s Earth size,” said Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. “It’s in the habitable zone. So we now know these planets do exist.”

Business Insider adds:

Scientists don't yet know the mass or composition of Kepler-186f, but think it could have a rocky surface based on planets of similar size — like Earth.

"There's a very excellent chance that it does have a rocky surface like the Earth," co-author Stephen Kane, of San Francisco State University, said in a statement.

The discovery was also published in the journal Science.



  1. Stephen says

    Yes @KESS. We may find and speculate about these earthlike planets, but we will never be able to communicate in real time, or ever travel there. Sad really.

  2. tominsf says

    Come on, every time NASA or some astronomer announces that some new earth-like planet has been found, it just means that budget time is coming up and they need some PR. It’s a cheap and dishonest trick to appeal to the very human desire to believe there’s something out there that we might communicate with, or some place out there where we can find refuge when we’ve succeeded in completely trashing the planet we have.

  3. Kess says

    Tom, this discovery is different in that they’ve calculated a width relative to Earth’s diameter which is very similar. THAT’S HUGE NEWS YOU MORON. On top of that it lies in the so-called “goldilocks zone.”

    Get a grip of things.

  4. tominsf says

    Ah, not just a moron but a capitalized one. I’ve reached the big time.

    That Goldilocks thing – that’s from that story about the three talking bears who sleep in beds and eat porridge, isn’t it? I’m all for metaphors, but I’d say it’s particularly appropriate that this one comes from a fairy tale.

  5. Randy says

    None of us will ever know, but perhaps humanity might actually survive long enough to make the trip there and find out whether the life that surely exists there is anything beyond bacteria.

  6. Tom says

    I believe the universe is full of life of all types, from microbial, to bi pedal humanoids, to who knows what else. I also believe we have been and are being visited. I think its just a matter of time before we ourselves find this planet with intelligent life on it. Very exciting time to live in.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “I believe the universe is full of life of all types,…”

    You are absolutely right. RuPaul and Lady Bunny have proved that correct.

  8. Steve Talbert says

    Besides a moon, it also needs an atmosphere.

    But that’s not the important part. The important part is advancing our technology to the point that we can even see it and measure it. The point of going to the moon wasn’t to go there but to develop the technology that allowed that to happen and be able to test it out.

  9. SpaceCadet says

    I believe it’s very possible that other forms of intelligent life that have mastered interstellar space travel have already visited our planet or at least passed on by. From an alien’s perspective though, I think humans by and large are not ready for alien contact. We still have enormous social problems to deal with before we can even contemplate making contact with aliens. Humans are still largely racist and sexist and homophobic and are greedy and we blow each other up. If I were an alien I’d probably come back in another 500 years to see if we’ve made any significant progress.

  10. jomicur says

    Now our creationist pals will have to explain whether this planet was created in seven days, just like the earth. And if it was, were its seven days of creation before ours or after?

  11. BrokebackBob says

    Why can’t we call just chill out and check ourselves and enjoy that we can even detect this planet (and others)? It doesn’t mean we would ever go there, but we know it’s there and we had the ability to detect it’ presence. And that boob who said that NASA is just wants more money should consider that since the do-nothing Republican congress won’t authorize any funding for replacing the space shuttle (moment of silence) or even having a bigger presence with the private sectors folks who are involving with ferrying cargo (not people) like SpaceX, we are now PAYING the evil Vladimir Putin (who could wipe us out and we him in a heartbeat) 60 million dollars -a seat- to get folks to and from the ISS. The last payment was a few days ago was for almost 500million dollars. Gee that really helps the sanctions work.

Leave A Reply