Irene Klotz
Discovery
March 20, 2014

Scientists are close to announcing the first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around its parent star.

Astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, culled data collected by the Kepler space telescope to ferret out a five-planet system, the outermost of which circles toward the outer edge of its star’s habitable zone, according to reports posted Wednesday on Twitter by astronomers attending the Search for Life Beyond the Solar System conference in Tucson, Ariz.

The outermost planet has a radius that is estimated to be 1.1 times as big as Earth’s, Nick Ballering, an astronomy graduate student at the University of Arizona, and scientist Jessie Christiansen, with the Ames Research Center, wrote in separate posts on Twitter.

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