NASA’s Keplar spacecraft has detected a whopping 715 new planets that is a number almost as high as the 1,000 planets of which have been discovered in our galaxy previously. Strictly including planets that may be able to support life, the “habitable zone” includes 4 of these 715 new planets. Planets in this zone are the right distance from a star and therefore have a moderate temperature that might allow liquid water.
305 different stars are orbited by these newly found planets. The Kepler space telescope used a new technique to make these discoveries; more are expected to arrive. These 715 planets are only from the first 2 years of Kepler’s journey and could be just the beginning.
What is this new technique for discovering planets you ask? Scientists are using “verification by multiplicity” in which probability rather than guessing is used to search for planets. 95% of the planets discovered by Kepler are smaller than the size of Neptune and 4 times the size of Earth. 3 of the planets in the habitable zone are TWICE the size of Earth.
Could you imagine living anywhere else besides Earth?