Exoplanet Kepler-452b Offers a Glimpse into the Future Fate of Our Earth

July 27th, 2015
in econ_news

by Carole Mundell, The Conversation

NASA has announced the discovery of the most Earth-like exoplanet to date. The new planet – named Kepler-452b – orbits a sun-like star and lies in the star’s habitable zone, an area which is neither too hot nor too cold for orbiting planets to support liquid water on the surface.

Follow up:

An international team of scientists, led by Jon Jenkins from NASA Ames Research Centre in California, discovered the planet alongside 11 other planets in habitable zones using a space-based telescope called Kepler. They made the discovery by monitoring the brightness of stars. A planet transiting in front of a star will create a temporary dip in its brightness as it blocks out a little of its light.

How do we compare? NASA

The new planet, which has a 385-day orbit, is possibly a rocky body, a little larger than the Earth with a radius of 1.63 times that of the Earth and twice as much surface gravity. The G2-type star it orbits lies 1400 light years away from Earth.

The exoplanet is only 5% further away from its host star than the Earth is from our sun. Jenkins and his team think the planet has always been in the habitable zone and will remain there for another 3 billion years.

Endless probabilities as there are 4,696 planet candidates now known.

The study of exoplanets began in earnest only 20 years ago with the discovery of larger planets called “hot Jupiters” around distant stars. The latest release of data from the Kepler project has increased the number of new exoplanet candidates by 521 since 2013, meaning there are now nearly 4700 candidates. However further analysis is needed to confirm that they really are planets.

Today, nearly 2,000 planets have been confirmed. Nine planets with a radius less than twice that of Earth was found in the past 4 years’ worth of Kepler data.

The star which the planet orbits has the same temperature as our Earth, and is 20% brighter. It is also slightly larger than our sun and is 1.5 billion years older. So while Kepler-452b is the closest analogue to our Earth-Sun system yet discovered by Kepler, it may be further along in its evolution. This gives us a glimpse into the future fate of our Earth as the Sun uses up its fuel, expanding and evolving into a red giant.

These fascinating observations of a distant world offer scientists hope that many more Earth-Sun systems may be discovered in the future, helping to quantify how rare our own environment is and offering the possibility to look for signs of life far outside our own Solar System.

The authors speculate that there could have been an ancient civilisation on Kepler-452b or the moon orbiting it. This may even have moved to an outer planet that we are yet to discover to escape the the loss of water as the increasing energy from its aging sun could be warming up the surface. This may yet offer hope to those engaged in searching for technological civilisations on distant planets.

The ConversationCarole Mundell is Head of Astrophysics at University of Bath.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.

 navigate econintersect.com


Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved