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Astronomers find most Earth-like planets yet

Published on Apr 19, 2013 5:52 AM
 
Relative sizes of Kepler habitable zone planets discovered as of April 18, 2013 in this artist's rendition provided by NASA. (Left to right) Kepler-22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler-62e, Kepler 62f and Earth. Scientists using NASA's Kepler space telescope have found the best candidates yet for habitable worlds beyond the solar system officials said Thursday. Using a potent NASA space telescope to scan the skies for planets like ours where life might exist, astronomers said on Thursday they have found the most Earth-like candidates yet. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Using a potent NASA space telescope to scan the skies for planets like ours where life might exist, astronomers said on Thursday they have found the most Earth-like candidates yet.

Two of the five planets orbiting a sun-like star called Kepler-62 are squarely in what astronomers call the habitable zone - not too hot, not too cold and possibly bearing water, researchers said in the journal Science.

"These two are our best candidates that might be habitable," said Mr William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center.

The two planets are slightly larger than ours, and at least a couple of billion years older. The first, 62e, is about 40 per cent larger than Earth.

 
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