Nasa telescope finds 10 more planets that could have life

10 of the new candidates are about the size of Earth and orbit in their star's habitable zones.

Nasa has announced the discovery of 219 new suspected planets outside our solar system.

"The Kepler data set is unique, as it is the only one containing a population of these near Earth-analogs - planets with roughly the same size and orbit as Earth", Mario Perez, Kepler program scientist, said in the release.

With the addition of this latest release, Kepler has now identified 4,034 planet candidates, and 2,335 of them have been confirmed as exoplanets.

The 10 new Earth-like planets are the right temperature for liquid water to pool on their rocky surface. Both results have significant implications for the search for life.

It seems very few of the exoplanets are between those sizes. Now, we know that exoplanets can be cold gas giants, hot Jupiters, ocean worlds, ice giants, lava worlds and rocky planets. And It's an important distinction to make, because Neptune-sized planets are nearly always inhospitable to life as we know it.

Data on the 10 new planets is publicly available in NASA's Exoplanet Archive.

For more information about Kepler Exoplanet Week, go to nasa.gov/kepler/exoplanetweek.

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When asked during the press conference how the team felt about Kepler's first mission coming to a close, Thompson explained that she sees it more as a new beginning. "It's incredible, the things that Kepler has found". "It has shown us these terrestrial worlds, and we still have all this work to do to really understand how common Earths are in the galaxy".

The exoplanet totals announced Monday reflect a final, extraordinarily detailed analysis of data collected over the first four years of Kepler's observations. And it only looked in a tiny part of the galaxy, one quarter of one percent of a galaxy that holds about 200 billion of stars.

Kepler's latest mission, K2, now observes several locations around the plane of our solar system, as the telescope uses light pressure from the Sun to stabilize its observations. The presence of liquid water means that a planet could potentially develop life, or one day host a human colony. One study, also presented at the conference, has discovered a clear dividing line between rocky planets larger than Earth and gassy planets smaller than Neptune. Researchers are now using the Hubble Space Telescope to determine if these planets had atmosphere.

Kepler hunts for planets by detecting the minuscule drop in a star's brightness that occurs when a planet crosses in front of it, called a transit.

Plus, scientists looked at the false signals Kepler observed during its time watching the small area in the Cygnus constellation. Each star will be observed for 30 days.

NASA said that the Spitzer, Hubble and Kepler will continue to conduct follow-up studies.

"I'm looking forward to 2030s", said Courtney Dressing, NASA Sagan Fellow.

Perhaps most intriguing, however, is the number of habitable Earth-sized planets that occupy just a small swath of space.

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