Alien Earth: Habitable planets may be discovered by the Kepler telescope in 2012.

Is 2013 the Year We Finally Find a True “Alien Earth”?

Trending News Channel
Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Dec. 28 2012 3:12 PM

Is 2013 the Year We Finally Find a True “Alien Earth”?

After a year that brought the discovery of several planets similar to our own, some astronomers are claiming that 2013 is the year we will discover a true alien Earth.

More than 800 exoplanets have been found since 1995, and some of them are Earth-like in mass and size. But these distant cousins all orbit their host stars too closely to be inhabitable.

Advertisement

By measuring the telltale dip in the brightness of a star as a planet passes in front it, the Kepler Space Telescope can identify a new planet after three transits. So far, it’s focused the search on the ones quickest to confirm—those closest to the star with smaller, more frequent orbits.

But as time passes, Kepler is spotting more distantly orbiting bodies, and now scientists say that in the coming year they are confident they will discover a rocky, wet planet in the "Goldilocks zone” around the star, where temperatures are just right for life.

  Slate Plus
Culturebox
Aug. 3 2015 11:48 AM Behind the Year of Outrage  Here’s how Slate tracked down everything we were angry about in 2014. 
  Health & Science
Science
Aug. 3 2015 3:29 PM We Don’t Really Care About Car Accidents Driving is horrifyingly dangerous. It doesn’t need to be this way.