The Kepler space telescope at NASA discovered two planets that are almost as large as our earth and they are orbiting around a star. They are very close to the star and therefore the scientists feel that they would not be able to sustain life. The discovery is being taken as a significant one and the astronomers believe that it is actually a step towards finding planet like earth that is habitable for life.
"These two new planets are the first genuinely Earth-sized worlds that have been found orbiting a sunlike star," Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California at Santa Cruz said while commenting on the discovery.
"These discoveries are a great technological step forward — to detect small planets, in size like Earth — but these planets are very hot and not in the habitable zone around their star," Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics stated.
The planets are termed as Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f and said to be the smallest planets among those discovered so far other than the Solar System. One of them is slightly smaller than earth while the other is a little larger. They are thought to have a hard rock composition.
The astronomers are able to discover these planets through the advancements in technology and hope to get more discoveries in the future as well. One day they might be able to find a planet where life can exist. The universe is full of surprises and what is known today is just a small portion of the vast universe.
Natalie Batalha who is Kepler deputy science team lead and professor of astronomy and physics at San Jose State University also gave her remarks on the discovery. “In the cosmic game of hide and seek, finding planets with just the right size and just the right temperature seems only a matter of time,” she said in a press statement on behalf of NASA. “We are on the edge of our seats knowing that Kepler’s most anticipated discoveries are still to come,” she added.
These planets are orbiting in a system that is quite different from our Solar System and have become an interesting thing for the scientists to study and deduce conclusions. The details will come forward with time and therefore there is a long way to go. Right now the discovery has led to discussions among the astronomers about the nature of these planets.