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NASA’s Kepler Telescope Confirms Earthlike Ocean Planet

Here is the whole article as written by Seth Borenstein

The planet is smack in the middle of what astronomers call the Goldilocks zone, that hard to find place that’s not too hot, not too cold, where water, which is essential for life, doesn’t freeze or boil. And it has a shopping mall-like surface temperature of near 72 degrees, scientists say…

“This is a phenomenal discovery in the course of human history,” Geoff Marcy of University of California, Berkeley, one of the pioneers of planet-hunting outside our solar system, said in an email. “This discovery shows that we Homo sapiens are straining our reach into the universe to find planets that remind us of home. We are almost there.”

The new planet — named Kepler-22b — has key aspects it shares with Earth. It circles a star that could be the twin of our sun and at just about the same distance. The planet’s year of 290 days is even close to ours. It likely has water and rock.

The only trouble is the planet’s a bit big for life to exist on the surface. The planet is about 2.4 times the size of Earth. It could be more like the gas-and-liquid Neptune with only a rocky core and mostly ocean.

“It’s so exciting to imagine the possibilities,” said Natalie Batalha, the Kepler deputy science chief.

Floating on that “world completely covered in water” could be like being on an Earth ocean and “it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that life could exist in such an ocean,” Batalha said in a phone interview.

Here is an article from Yahoo by Mike Wall

Another article from Time by Nick Carbone

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