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NASA telescope finds 10 more planets that could have life

20 June 2017
NASA telescope finds 10 more planets that could have life

NASA says several of the 10 new potentially habitable planets circle stars similar in size to our sun.

Detected in four separate transit candidates, each around 302 days apart, associated with a star that is slightly smaller and cooler than our Sun, KOI-7711 hasn't been verified as a confirmed exoplanet yet.

Earth might have more company in the universe.

The U.S. space agency says that these 10 new candidates are in the correct range of their stars where water could form on the surface of the more rocky planets. But researchers don't know much more than that.

The 1,284 newly discovered exoplanets were only announced as such after being identified with 99% confidence, but as NASA admits, that leaves out 1,327 other likely exoplanets that couldn't reach that 99% certainty.

Read: A Planet Hotter Than Most Stars? One of those groupings are planets like Neptune that have no surface, or lie under a deep atmosphere, which is unlikely to support life.

This latest batch of planetary discoveries marks the final step in Kepler's observation of the Cygnus constellation.

For more information about Kepler Exoplanet Week, go to nasa.gov/kepler/exoplanetweek. "It's incredible, the things that Kepler has found". "It has shown us these terrestrial worlds, and we still have all this work to do to really understand how common Earths are in the galaxy".

This is the eighth release of information from the Kepler team, which is managed out of Ames for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. While the catalog from the Kepler mission, the first four years Kepler was in space, will not change after Monday, the catalog from K2 may change and grow in the future.

When asked during the press conference how the team felt about Kepler's first mission coming to a close, Thompson explained that she sees it more as a new beginning.

"This number could have been very, very small, and I for one am ecstatic that we found 50 potentially habitable worlds orbiting nearby stars".

One of those planets — KOI7711 — is the closest analog to Earth astronomers have seen in terms of size and the energy it gets from its star, which dictates temperatures.

And it only looked in a tiny part of the galaxy.

In the search for life, Fulton believes it will be better to focus on super-Earths.

One research group took advantage of the Kepler data to make precise measurements of thousands of planets, revealing two distinct groups of small planets.

Kepler spots potential planets by looking for a dimming of a star's brightness due a planet crossing in front of it. Each star will be observed for 30 days. It was created to survey part of the galaxy to see how frequent planets are and how frequent Earth-size and potentially habitable planets are.

The Kepler Space Telescope is still in space, with limited motion working on the K2 mission.