715 New Planets Discovered By NASABy: Ellisha Rader Mannering - February 27, 2014
It’s always exciting when a new planet is discovered, but how about 715 new planets? NASA recently announced that they have discovered 715 new planets with the Kepler space telescope. This is the largest batch of planets ever discovered at one time. Before their discovery, only about 1,000 other new planets were known.
NASA says that they used a new technique to verify the planets. They hope this new technique will help make new planetary discoveries more frequent and more detailed. The Kepler space telescope was first launched in 2009 and was the first NASA mission to find new planets. Of the 715 planets discovered this week, 4 of them are in the inhabitable zone, which means they could support life.
“We’ve been able to open the bottleneck to access the mother lode and deliver to you more than 20 times as many planets as has ever been found and announced at once,” said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
The recently discovered planets were actually located over the last 2 years, but only recently verified. This means that the telescope may have found more planets that are waiting to be verified as well. Although most of the planets that were discovered are small, about half the size of Neptune, at least one of them is twice the size of earth and orbits a star half the size of Earth’s sun in a 30-day cycle.
Every time NASA discovers a new planet, they take the chance of finding other life forms. The more planets that are found, the higher the chances of finding other life forms.
“The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home,” said Jason Rowe, a research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and co-leader of the research team.
Do you believe there could be life forms living on other planets?
Image via Wikimedia Commons