NASA has a serious knack for becoming more and more awesome.
Last week the space agency gave us Earth-dwellers a tantalising taste and of Pluto now it has another massive announcement that could change everything we know about the universe.
They are holding a press conference early tomorrow (Australian time) to discuss the latest findings of the Kepler Space Telescope’s planet-hunting mission.
And if what NASA has been alluding to is correct, astronomers are on the verge of finding the closest thing to an Earth-like planet in the galaxy.
Launched in 2009, Kepler is the first mission from NASA searching for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone — the region around a star in which the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might support water.
Since launching, the telescope has had a confirmed discovery of more than 1000 planets, and they have spotted more 3000 ‘planet candidates’, which means they haven’t been able to confirm their existence. All of these have been different sizes and orbital distances from Earth.
“The first exoplanet orbiting another star like our sun was discovered in 1995,”NASA said in a statement.
“Exoplanets, especially small Earth-size worlds, belonged within the realm of science fiction just 21 years ago.
“Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamt about for thousands of years.”
The news comes as NASA’s New Horizons probe sent back images of icy mountain ranges discovered in the heart shaped region of Pluto.
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