Scientists have discovered an actual Earth-sized exoplanet that is currently in orbit around the habitable zone of a red dwarf star. Dubbed Kepler-1649c, the planet was not discovered until a group of researchers took a deeper look at the data they collected which was originally mislabeled. After careful study, they found that the planet is a little larger than Earth and gets about 75% as much sunlight as Earth does from the Sun. A report from Space Flight Insider says that the planet is about 1.06 times the size of our own planet.
Don’t get your hopes too high though as Kelper-1649c is about 300 light-years away from our planet and orbits its red dwarf star once every 19.5 Earth days. The associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen said, “This intriguing, distant world gives us even greater hope that a second Earth lies among the stars, waiting to be found. The data gathered by missions like Kepler and our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will continue to yield amazing discoveries as the science community refines its abilities to look for promising planets year after year”. Currently, scientists have no data on the atmosphere on the planet.
Even though information about the planet is not readily available because of the difficulty in judging exactly what constitutes its atmosphere, scientists are hopeful that they can find more planets in the habitable zone of different stars. Well, keep your fingers crossed because we’ve certainly made a mess of our own planet and maybe the only way to ensure the species’ survival is to take to the stars.