Within our galaxy’s Goldilocks zone, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope identified an Earth-like planet around a nearby star. In the Cygnus constellation, Kepler-186f is around 500 light-years away from Earth.
The habitable zone, also known as the Goldilocks zone, is the region of space around a star where planetary-mass objects with sufficient atmospheric pressure can sustain liquid water on their surfaces.
While it has been projected th at there are at least 40 billion Earth-sized planets circling in our Milky Way Galaxy, this specific finding is labelled the first Earth-sized planet to be discovered in the habitable zone of another star.
In addition to Kepler-186f, there are 4 other planets that circle a nearby star within the Kepler-186f system. What this means is that if the neighbouring star to this planet is just like our Sun, then the likelihood of life on this planet exponentially increases.
“We know of only one planet where life survives – Earth. When we hunt for life outside our solar system, we emphasis on discovering planets with features that mimic that of Earth,” said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published in the journal Science.
The neighboring star to Kepler-186f has half the mass and size as our solar system’s Sun and only gets one-third of the energy that we get from our Sun. Kepler-186f circles its star once every 130 days.