Skip to main content

Earth-Like, Potentially Habitable Worlds Discovered

Three newly discovered exoplanets may be capable of supporting life, astronomers announced today (April 18). One is the most Earth-like alien planet spotted yet.

Researchers using NASA's Kepler space telescope discovered the three exoplanets. Two, Kepler-62f and Kepler-62e, orbit a star smaller and dimmer than the sun, according to SPACE.com.

Kepler-62f is the most promising of the trio, as it is a rocky world only 1.4 times larger than Earth. Both 62e, which is 1.6 times larger than Earth, and 62f orbit in their stars' habitable zones, where liquid water can exist.

The planets "look very good as possibilities for looking for life," Bill Borucki, Kepler's science principal investigator, told SPACE.com. [Video: Two Oceanic Planets Discovered]

The third planet, Kepler-69c orbits another sunlike star. At 1.7 times the size of Earth, it's the smallest planet yet found in the habitable zone of a star similar to the sun.

The researchers also found three other planets in the Kepler-62 system and another in the Kepler-69 system. Researchers believe that Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f may be water worlds dominated by global oceans.

For more on the hunt for Earth-like planets, visit SPACE.com.

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.