Earth-Like Planet Found

December 6, 2011 by staff 

Earth-Like Planet Found, U.S. astronomers say an Earth-like planet outside the solar system is in its star’s “habitable” zone with a surface temperature averaging a balmy 72 degrees.

The planet discovered by the Kepler space telescope orbits a star about 600 light years away, close by astronomical standards, researchers announced Monday at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

“It is right smack in the middle of the habitable zone,” Kepler scientist Natalie Batalha told USA Today.

The discovery of the planet, dubbed Kepler 22b, caps years of searching for a “Goldilocks” planet — one not too hot and not too cold — that could harbor oceans on its surface, like Earth, since liquid water is considered vital for the development of life.

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