NASA has revealed the discovery of ten “rocky and raw” ‘Earth-like’ planets.
Confirming the news on Twitter, the space agency revealed 219 “new planets” had been identified by the Kepler Space Telescope in a neighbouring solar system.
Ten are in the so-called “goldilocks zone”, meaning they have similar conditions to Earth and could potentially support life.
These planets are further enough from their sun so it’s not too hot, but close enough so liquid can exist there. This means the “key factor” for life – water – could be found on these new planets.
NASA tweeted earlier:”Scientists using @NASAKepler have identified 219 potential new worlds.”
The Kepler Space Telescope has, so far, found 4000 planets outside of our own Solar System, 50 of which are the candidates for habitation.
NASA said in a statement:”There are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler. Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.
“Additionally, results using Kepler data suggest two distinct size groupings of small planets. Both results have significant implications for the search for life.”
Research scientist Susan Thompson from the SETI Institute, which searches for signs of extra-terrestrial life, said the Kepler space telescope was essential in the search for new worlds.
She said:”This carefully measured catalogue is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions – how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?”
The recent discoveries are good news for us here on Earth as according to Professor Stephen Hawking we have to find alternative accommodation soon as our planet is getting too crowded.
He said at a press conference last month in London: “I strongly believe we should start seeking alternative planets for possible habitation.
“We are running out of space on Earth and we need to break through the technical limitations preventing us living elsewhere in the universe.”