Within our galaxy’s Goldilocks zone, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope identified an Earth-like planet around a nearby star. In the Cygnus constellation, Kepler-186f is around 500 light-years away from Earth. The habitable zone, also known as the Goldilocks zone, is the region of space around a star where planetary-mass objects with sufficient atmospheric pressure can sustain liquid water on their surfaces.
While it is estimated that there are at least 40 billion Earth-sized planets surrounding our Milky Way Galaxy, this discovery has been dubbed the first Earth-sized planet identified in another star’s habitable zone.
“We know of only one planet where life survives – Earth. When we hunt for life outside our solar system, we emphasis on discovering planets with features that mimic that of Earth,” said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published in the journal Science. “Discovering a habitable zone planet similar to Earth in size is a major breakthrough.”
Within the Kepler-186f system, there are four more planets that orbit a neighboring star in addition to Kepler-186f. This indicates that if the planet’s neighboring star is identical to our Sun, the chances of life on this planet increase tremendously.
Kepler-186f’s neighboring star is half the mass and size of our solar system’s Sun, and it receives a third of the radiation that our Sun does. Every 130 days, Kepler-186f circles its star.