Wow. NASA on Thursday announced the discovery of a planet that could be the first found outside our solar system capable of sustaining human life. The planet, which is officially named Kepler-452b, is being described by NASA’s Jon Jenkins as Earth’s “older, bigger cousin” and it is the smallest planet discovered so far in the so-called “habitable” zone in a solar system in which a planet is capable of sustaining pools of water on its surface.
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That said, we shouldn’t get too excited about moving to this new planet for a couple of reasons. First, the planet is significantly larger than Earth, with a diameter that’s 60% larger. This means that walking on the planet would feel much less comfortable than walking on Earth since it would have much stronger gravity.
Second, it’s 1,400 light years away from Earth. This means that even if we figured out how to travel at the speed of light (which we won’t), those of us on Earth wouldn’t know that our astronauts had reached it for almost a millennium and a half.
All the same: This is an incredibly cool discovery and it’s one that raises hopes of finding other habitable planets in the future.
To learn more about this exciting new planet, check out NASA’s full press release here.