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.