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Researchers discover two potentially habitable planets, thanks to Kepler mission

Posted By Briley Kenney On April 18, 2013 @ 1:33 PM In General Tech | 2 Comments

Two mysterious Earth Planets [1]

It’s a pretty well-known fact that water is essential to life on Earth. That being said, researchers believe a habitable area is one that includes water, or can at least preserve bodies of water. A habitable region must also maintain the appropriate properties of water. For example, the water can’t be totally frozen nor can it mostly be outside its liquid form. That means when looking for habitable territories worlds beyond our own, the main concern is water.

While there are flaws in this theory due to other conditions that must be met in order to sustain life, it’s pretty accurate to assume that if a planet can retain water it can probably support life.

Thanks to the Kepler mission, scientists have been able to identify a distant exosolar system that includes planets which may or may not be in habitable zones. There are also three other bodies orbiting the host star, which have the potential for sustaining life.

Using advanced calculation methods –which you can read more about at the source link- researchers believe that these are primarily comprised of rock. They also believe that the host star itself is about 7 billion years old, which is enough time to allow any heat from formation to dissolve. This in turn, means the related planets will be more comprised of durable materials than they will molten, making them ideal for habitation.

There are five bodies total orbiting the host star, with the first three being much too close meaning they would be too hot to support water in a liquid form. The two outer planets labeled Kepler-62e and -62f, however are far enough away and receive about the same amount of light from the host star as Earth, does. This is one of the key reasons why researchers believe they would be suitable for life.

Of course, there are tons of other factors that would be relevant when it comes to sustaining life. For example, the atmosphere of each planet must be appropriate, containing a healthy mix of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water.

“We do not know if Kepler-62e and -62f have a rocky composition, an atmosphere, or water.”

It’s unlikely that we’ll be making a trip to the planets anytime soon. If anything, this helps serve as proof that there are likely other planets that will sustain life somewhere in the vast expanse of the universe.

This news arrives on the heels of a rather odd rumor that a future reality show would send contestants on a one way trip to Mars and film the whole ordeal.

[via ArsTechnica [2], Harvard [3]]


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[1] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/lores-640x455.jpg

[2] ArsTechnica: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/kepler-spots-two-super-earths-one-squarely-in-the-habitable-zone/

[3] Harvard: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2013/pr201311.html

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