December 21, 2011

Two Earth-size Planets discovered: NASA

NASA claimed that its Kepler spacecraft has discovered a pair of planets outside our solar system orbiting a distant star. The two planets are as big as of our Earth.

Scientists said that some planets exist where the life could be possible. The discovery could be termed as significant after the Kepler spacecraft had found 500 planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system.

The two new planets, Kepler 20e and Kepler 20f, are far outside the Goldilocks zone. They could be the homes for extraterrestrial life, said the findings published online by the journal Nature on Tuesday.

Scientists claimed that the newly discovered planets are the part of a five-planet system around the star. One difference was found in the solar system. While the small rocky planets are close to the Sun and gaseous planets are on the periphery in our solar system, there is no such rule in the five-planet solar system. All the big and small planets alternate as one move away from their Sun.

Kepler 20e is the hottest planet and resides about 5 million miles from its star. It is slightly smaller than our Venus. Kepler 20f orbits at around 800 degrees and resides about million miles out from its star. The earth-like is 8,200 miles in diameter.

The two planets are assumed to be rocky. Their Sun is believed to be slightly smaller and cooler than our Sun.

The Kepler spacecraft had previously discovered three larger Neptune-like planets in that solar system. With the latest discovery of two planets, a total of five planets were detected so far beyond our solar system.

Earlier, the Kepler 22b was discovered circling a star 600 light years away where life could be possible. Scientists said that the life is possible in the smallest planet as it has a suitable temperature and may have liquid water on its surface.

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