NASA on Thursday announced that its Kepler telescope has discovered what is being described as the most Earth-like planet to date.
The newly confirmed Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-size planet ever discovered orbiting in the habitable zone — the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface — of a G2-type star, just like our sun, NASA said. The discovery of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.
And out of all of those planets, Kepler-452b and its star “most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a statement. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0.”
Since Kepler launched in 2009, 12 planets less than twice the size of Earth have been discovered in the habitable zones of their stars. At this point, scientists don’t know if Kepler-452b can support life or not.