By Miriam Kramer, Mashable.com, July 24, 2015 – NASA announced on Thursday that the agency’s planet-hunting Keppler Space Telescope has found a new planet that is potentially more Earth-like than any other world previously discovered. This is definitely a big deal.
The planet, designated as Kepler 452b, is the first Earth-sized world discovered orbiting a sunlike star in the habitable zone — the area around a star that would allow a planet to maintain liquid water on its surface.
But before we proclaim that we’ve found our “Earth Twin,” complete with oceans and alien life, it’s important to ask the what we really know about Kepler 452b, which is located nearly 1,400 light-years from us.
Scientists are always looking for liquid water out in the universe because, on Earth at least, it can signal life. So, while finding a wet world is not a sure-fire sign of alien life, it’s a good place to start.
Kepler 452b “is the closest thing we have to another place somebody might call home,” Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead, said in a news conference call on Thursday.
But that does not mean that Kepler 452b is another Earth. Far from it.