NASA’s Kepler mission has proved the existence of the very first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone,” Kepler 452b, around a sun-like star.
NASA tweeted :
With this discovery, the number of confirmed planets has risen to 1030.
While NASA says that it can’t yet say for sure if the planet has water and air on it, it is the closest match to planet Earth to be found.
The mission also marked the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets and mark another milestone in the journey to finding another planet Earth. A press release issued by NASA said, “The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone — the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet — of a G2-type star, like our sun.”
John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington said, “On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun.”
While Kepler-452b is 60 % larger in diameter than Earth, similarities include similar temperature. The distance between it and it’s parent star is also almost the same as that of Earth and the Sun.