Planets Found Light-Years Away Could Sustain Life

Located a mere 470 light-years away from Earth, two new Earth-like planets have been discovered. More importantly, they are believed to be the most promising candidates to support human, or alien life form.

These two planets, along with the six others that were discovered by analyzing the Kepler Space Telescope records, increase the number of planets found outside of our solar system to one thousand. It is certain that there are thousands, perhaps millions more to uncover within the depths of the universe.

Both Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b orbit stars that are both smaller and cooler compared to our sun – they’re called red dwarfs. Each planet orbits their star at their own pace. In regards to Earth, a year on Kepler-438b is predicted to last 35 days; and on Kepler-442b, 112 days. Both planets are significantly larger than our planet, and have a 60 to 70 percent chance of having a similar surface.

Due to the difference in distance between the Kepler-438b and its red dwarf star, it is believed to get 40 percent more heat than Earth gets from the Sun. Scientists think there could be a 70 percent chance that water can exist on this planet and that is why it is a good candidate to support life. Water is considered one of the basic building blocks in order to have presence of life.

Kepler-442b, on the other hand, is believed to only have two thirds of the amount of light that Earth receives from the Sun and a 97 percent chance of the possible presence of water upon its surface. This is assuming that this particular planet even has a surface. Due to the fact that it is located further than Kepler-438b, scientists cannot be absolutely sure about their speculations.

An interesting observation was made about Venus in comparison to the new planets. Venus receives almost twice as much solar radiation that Earth receives, and it renders the surface too hot for the existence of liquid water. The new planets, Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, are believed to be more likely to support life than Venus, which is located only 162 million miles from Earth, rather than 470 or 1,100 light years away. To put things in perspective, one light-year is equal to approximately 5.88 trillion miles.