Scientists, with the help of Kepler telescope, have discovered three exoplanets that might be able to be good enough to support and sustain life on them.
Out of the three, the most interesting one is Kepler-62f. It is a rocky planet that is 1.4 times larger than the Earth and revolves around a star smaller and less bright than the sun. Kepler-62f's neighbor, the Kepler-62e, is 1.6 times bigger than the Earth. Their distance from the star is just right and allows for liquid water to be present on their surfaces.
Kepler science principal investigator Bill Borucki, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., while talking about the Kepler-62e and f, which are two of the newly discovered five-planet system, said, "Look very good as possibilities for looking for life," according to a report on Space.com.
The third of the newly discovered planets is the Kepler-69c, which is 1.7 times bigger than the Earth. It revolves around a star similar to our sun. Borucki, while talking to SPACE.com, said, "We're moving very rapidly toward finding an Earth analogue around a star like the sun.”
There are in total seven planets that have been discovered – five in the Kepler-62 star system, while two in Kepler-69 -, but out of those the three mentioned above are the most habitable.
Lead author Lisa Kaltenegger, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said, "There may be life there, but could it be technology-based like ours? Life on these worlds would be under water with no easy access to metals, to electricity, or fire for metallurgy." She added, "Nonetheless, these worlds will still be beautiful blue planets circling an orange star — and maybe life’s inventiveness to get to a technology stage will surprise us.”
It comes as no surprise that Kepler-62e should be warmer than its more far-off neighbor. It is believed that Kepler-62f may be in the need for a greenhouse effect to prevent oceans of water from freezing into ice.
Study co-author Dimitar Sasselov, of Harvard, said, “Kepler-62e probably has a very cloudy sky and is warm and humid all the way to the polar regions." He added, "Kepler-62f would be cooler, but still potentially life-friendly."