Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

NASA May Be About To Reveal The Discovery Of A New 'Earth'

kepler2.png


Yes, we know it sounds like a lavish PR stunt for the next major Hollywood sci-fi epic, but we've checked the speaker list and Tom Cruise isn't appearing.

At 17:00 GMT on 23 July, NASA will hold a press conference to announce the latest findings of its planet-hunting Kepler mission. There's a change they could make an announcement that could chance the course of... well, everything human kind is doing with space. Here's why.



Kepler

Launched in March 2009, NASA's Kepler spacecraft has been using one of the world's most powerful photometers (basically a telescope that looks for light) to probe the deepest, darkest corners of space. It's mission? To look for far off planets (or exoplanets, to be exact) - particularly those that hold the potential for the formation of liquid water and sit within a "habitable zone" of the star it orbits. They're looking for another Earth.

The "habitable zone" is hugely important for finding an Earth-like planet: too close to a star, and the surface will likely be a molten vat of horribleness, too far and it could be a frozen desert. 

The Kepler spots these planetary bodies by looking for a "transit event", which has nothing to do with white vans, but rather a tiny dip in the light levels given off by a distant star.

This indicates that something has passed in front of the star in its orbit, allowing NASA to determine a bunch of properties, from its size to whether it sits in a habitable zone.

So far, the Kepler mission has spotted 1,000 planets, and a further 3,000 possible planets. At their press briefing today, NASA will announce the Kepler's latest findings - which could well include an Earth-sized planet, sitting in a habitable zone.

Kepler

Should that be the case, NASA could point a whole heap of equipment, researchers and tech, at the spot of sky that this Earth candidate sits in, allowing us to find out (or have a good guess) if it really could be awash with oceans, mountains and - just possibly - life.

It could be the first of many, or just a one-off - but it's the sort of discovery that means future trips into the big black could be pointed at this discovery. Sure, we won't visit it for a very, very long time, but it's something to aim at, right?

We'll find out for sure when NASA reveals all at 17:00. You'll be able to watch the press conference stream right here.

If you need us, we'll be watching Star Trek episodes on repeat until then.

(Images: NASA)

Related

whatsapp1.jpg

Could you survive without Whatsapp?

space.PNG

This Is What Nixon Would Have Said If The Moon Landing Had Gone Wrong

pluto.jpg

Everything you need to know about New Horizon's Pluto trip

sony1.jpg

The Nintendo PlayStation console that never was

halo.PNG

Scientific Proof That Men Who Troll Are Losers

jeep.jpg

Could 'Car Hacking' Be The Next Cyber Crime Craze?

Comments

More

iPhone 8 rumours suggest it'll have a revolutionary curved screen

And it could be coming out NEXT YEAR!!!

by Jamie Carson
07 Dec 2016

Amazon is launching checkout-free shop where you simply walk out

Goodbye stubborn self-checkout machine, hello freakishly smart tech

by Emily Badiozzaman
06 Dec 2016

The Last Of Us 2 and nine more new Playstation games set for 2017

A certain spin-kicking marsupial is back, too!

by Chris Sayer
05 Dec 2016

New app will allow you to check the potency of your sperm

Get to know your baby makers up-close and personal

by Chris Sayer
05 Dec 2016

WhatsApp is about to stop working for millions of smartphone users

And it's bad news for Nokia or Blackberry users

by Tom Fordy
02 Dec 2016

Delete yourself from the internet with this handy website

And just like that, he was gone.

by Sam Diss
28 Nov 2016

Get on ‘Sindr’ the Catholic Church’s confession app

Swipe to find God in your area

24 Nov 2016

Apple to replace faulty batteries on iPhone 6s devices

21 Nov 2016

These are the worst passwords on the web

Best check yours isn't one of them

17 Nov 2016

What does Facebook really know about you

From ads to linked apps to everything in between

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016