NASA and SETI recently announced the intriguing discovery of a second Earth-like planet in our Universe today. This “Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth” is called Kepler-452b and is located in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star in the Cygnus constellation.
It’s not the first time when astronomers discover an Earth-like exoplanet; however, this time the similarities are so many that the newly found planet has all the rights to be called a “second Earth” or “another Earth.”
Kepler-452, the second Earth’s parent star, is located 1,400 light-years away from us. It is a G2-type star, which makes Kepler-452b the first known exoplanet orbiting a similar star to our Sun since the previously discovered Earth-like planets are orbiting smaller and cooler stars.
Found in the habitable zone, the Earth’s cousin is very likely to have liquid water because it is located at the right distance from its sun, providing the temperature necessary for water to exist in its liquid state.
The probability that it has an atmosphere is also very high for the same reason. Since Kepler-452b’s parent star is a bit larger than our Sun, it apparently has a higher average temperature on its surface.
All the above-mentioned facts not only mean that Kepler-452b is extremely similar to our own planet but also make it a perfect candidate to host life.
The similarities of Kepler-452b and the Earth are even more striking than the ones of Kepler-186f, which was discovered last year, bringing new hopes in the search for extraterrestrial life.
Kepler-186f is located in the same constellation, 500 light-years from Earth, and is found in the habitable zone too. However, a huge difference is that its parent star has only half the mass and size of our Sun, which significantly decreases its chances to support life.
The Mind Unleashed / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.