WASHINGTON (AFP)-the next step to find Earth-like planets, which may hold life, NASA‘S Kepler space telescope confirmed its first planet in the habitable zone outside our solar system.
French astronomers confirmed this year, the first rocky exoplanet do not meet the key requirements of the regulations for the maintenance of life. Kepler-22b, originally saw in 2009, is the first space agency, the US managed to confirm but.
Confirmation means that astronomers can see over in the presence of his star three times. But that doesn’t mean that astronomers know whether life exists, simply that the conditions are right.
These planets have the correct distance from the star to promote water, plus appropriate temperature and the atmosphere to support life. “
“Now we have a good planet confirmation with Kepler-22b, “said Bill Borucki, principal investigator of NASA‘S Kepler Ames Research Center.”
“We’re sure that it is in the habitable zone, and if it has a surface should have a temperature, “he said to reporters,.
Rotates around a star 600 light-years away, Kepler-22b is 2.4 times the size of the country, placing in the class known as “super Earths,” and revolves the Sun as a star of all 290 days.
It is assumed that its surface temperature is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 ° C). Scientists don’t know, however, whether the planet is Rocky, gaseous or liquid.
The first “transit” of the planet, or star of the crossover, he was captured, shortly after NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft in March 2009.
NASA also announced that the Kepler Poliohni 1,094 more potential planets, twice the number it previously had been monitoring, according to research presented at the Conference in California this week.
Kepler is NASA‘S first mission from Earth-like planets orbiting the Sun similar to ours, and the cost of the space agency’s US $ 600 million.
It is equipped with the greatest of the camera, when he sent into space-95-megapixel field – sensing device-and it is expected that continue to send information back to the country until at least November 2012.
Kepler is the search for planets like Earth, including those orbiting the stars in the warm, habitable the zone, where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet.
The latest confirmed exoplanet could support life brings to three the total number of confirmed global astronomers.
In addition to the French astronomers confirmed the findings of the Gliese 581 d in may, Swiss astronomers in August another planet HD 85512 b, 36 light years away in the habitable zone of its star.
However, these two planets are orbiting the star smaller and cooler than our Sun, “NASA said in a statement, noting that the Kepler-22b” is the smallest Yet found on the orbit in the habitable zone of a star, like our Sun “
” the Europeans have also been very active, is working actively to confirming our the candidates, “said Natalie Batalha, Kepler Deputy scientific team lead at San Jose State University.”
“There are two that are published are already confirmed and have other benefits that are on servers a preprint will, I’m sure, in the published literature soon, “she added.”
“So we’re just excited. We need all of the telescopes, observation of these candidates so we can confirm as much as possible. “
A total of 48 exoplanet and exomoons are potential habitable candidates from a total of 2,326 options that Kepler identified don’t make