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Earth's twin planet will be found by the end of the year, leading astronomer say

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Author Topic: Earth's twin planet will be found by the end of the year, leading astronomer say  (Read 239 times)
Major Weatherly
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« on: January 29, 2010, 10:31:00 pm »

Professor Mayor said that Nasa's Kepler spacecraft is likely to be the first to locate the ideal planet to sustain human life because it is carrying the largest telescope to ever have been sent beyond the Earth's orbit

More than 400 extrasolar planets - or exoplanets - that orbit stars similar to the Sun have been discovered in the last 15 years, Professor Mayor told the conference.

But most of these planets are too large to be habitable for human life, due to having active tectonic plates that would make foran unstable environment.

The smallest planet found to date, he said, is approximately 1.7 times the size of Earth.

It is also imperative for the planet to be at a certain distance from its star so that its water would be liquid.

Professor Mayor said: 'If the planet’s too close, it will be blazing hot and all the water will evaporate and if it’s too far away, it will be ice.'

It is hoped that within about four years Kepler will have located planets of the same size as Earth that are also in the 'habitable zone', he added.
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