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Second Earth Found? Scientists Confirm Existence Of ‘Kepler-22B’ Planet

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(credit: JPL)

(credit: JPL)

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PASADENA (CBS)— NASA announced a major milestone in the quest for life in the universe Monday: The discovery of another planet close enough to Earth that it could support life.

The planet, dubbed Kepler-22b, has a radius 2.4 times that of Earth and is 600 light years away, according to NASA. It’s the first planet confirmed to be in a “habitable zone,” a region around a star where liquid water can exist.

In the case of Kepler-22b, its star is similar to the sun, though it is slightly smaller and cooler. It takes the planet 290 days to orbit the star, according to NASA.

“This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin,” said Kepler program scientist Douglas Hudgins.

Astronomers don’t yet know if Kepler-22b is predominantly a rocky planet, such as Earth, or made up mostly of gases or liquids.

Kepler-22b is the first planet confirmed to be in a habitable zone found by Kepler so far.

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