Finding your Twin – Kepler-22b

The planet Kepler-22b

After years of waiting, nothing came. So instead of waiting we found a planet.

Kepler-22b is NASA’s latest discovery. The incredibly awesome Kepler telescope has been searching for earth-like planets for years now. This is the first instance in our history that we have found a planet similar to our own. A twin if you will. Except we have no idea what it is made of and it is 2 1/2 times our size. It has an orbit similar to Earth, which makes Kepler-22b’s year (290 days) as close to ours as possible. As they said on badastronomy,

[T]hat puts the planet inside of that star’s habitable zone, the distance where, given certain planetary conditions, liquid water can exist. It may be that life can arise where there’s no water, but we know life on Earth needs water, so if we’re looking for habitable planets it makes sense to look for the possibility of water there.

NASA has provided one theoretical image of Kepler-22b. I mean, it is 600 light years away, it’s kinda hard to see. Yet this definitively proves there are water-bearing planets in our universe, leading to the possibility of life. Kepler will find more planets like ours, but how many and how close will they be to us?


December 9, 2011 / By