NASA finds ‘Earth’s bigger, older cousin’

(CNN) – NASA said Thursday that its Kepler spacecraft has spotted “Earth’s bigger, older cousin”: the first nearly Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of a star similar to our own.

Though NASA can’t say for sure whether the planet is rocky like ours or has water and air, it’s the closest match yet found.

On Thursday, July 23, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, "Earth's bigger, older cousin." This artistic concept shows what the planet might look like. Scientists can't tell yet whether Kepler-452b has oceans and continents like Earth.

“Today, Earth is a little less lonely,” Kepler researcher Jon Jenkins said.

The planet, Kepler-452b, is about 1,400 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. It’s about 60% bigger than Earth, NASA says, and is located in its star’s habitable zone — the region where life-sustaining liquid water is possible on the surface of a planet.

A visitor there would experience gravity about twice that of Earth’s, and planetary scientists say the odds of it having a rocky surface are “better than even.”

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Source News: CNN