There are many mysteries that await mankind’s discovery in the vast expanse of space, but recent data gathered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope is hinting at the possibility that the nearest habitable—or “Earth-like” planets—may be right next door to our solar system.
According to the data gathered, NASA has detected 461 new potential “alien planets”, including four worlds that are slightly larger than Earth which may be capable of supporting life forms that human being are familiar with. All four of the planets are considered “super-Earths” because they’re 1.25-2 times larger than our planet. Moreover, these super-Earths are within their stars’ habitable zones, meaning there’s a possibility that water may exist on the planets’ surface.
Not only did the Kepler space telescope found possible habitable planets, the data gathered also indicated that the nearest Earth-like planet may be just 13 light years away the sun. One light year is 9.4605284 × 1012 kilometers, so 13 light years is still very far in term of reachable distance via current technology.
“The information we presented today will excite the general public because we now know what the nearest potential Earth-like world is likely within 13 light years of the sun,” said Courtney Dressing, an astronomer. “Astronomically speaking, 13 light years is practically next door.”
Just as significant is the Kepler’s new findings also increase the number of stars “known to host more than one planet candidate from 365 to 467.”