Likely Habitable Planet Found 1200 Light-Years Away

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Potentially Habitable

A study published in the journal Astrobiology reveals that a distant planet located some 1,200 light-years away from Earth might be habitable. The planet Kepler 62-f identified by NASA’s Kepler Mission in 2013 may have a rocky appearance along with oceans thus making it capable of sustaining life.

Kepler 62-f is located in the direction of the constellation Lyra and it is the outermost of the five planets orbiting a star which is smaller and cooler than the sun. Although the planet was identified in 2013, its composition, atmosphere and orbit shape is unknown. Now scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Washington have proposed several scenarios about its composition, atmosphere and orbit shape.

“We found there are multiple atmospheric compositions that allow it to be warm enough to have surface liquid water. This makes it a strong candidate for a habitable planet,” said Aomawa Shields from UCLA. Earth is composed of 0.04% of carbon dioxide but researchers believe that carbon dioxide in Kepler 62-f would be more as it is far from its star than Earth is from the sun. More carbon dioxide would be needed to keep atmosphere on the planet warm enough to prevent water from freezing. Researchers ran a computer simulation based on Kepler-62f having an atmosphere that ranges in thickness from the same as Earth’s all the way up to 12 times thicker than our planet’s.

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