For a long time now, the guys over at NASA have been searching for a planet that closely resembles Earth.  But there never seems to be a perfect match (surprisingly). Recently however NASA has found what they consider to be a close match to our Earth.

According to a new report from NASA, the newly discovered Kepler 186f planet strongly resembles our planet in a few key ways. Kepler 186f is one of the closest in size to Earth that has ever been discovered.  It is also the correct distance from its own sun to be classed in the “habitable zone”.  This is the correct distance, which makes it possible for liquid water to pool on the surface of the planet.

Inhabitable Planet

Although other Earth-like planets have been located before, they have either been too hot or they have been considerably larger than our own planet. Kepler 186f however, is 10% larger than Earth. The orbit around its own M Dwarf sun takes 130 days and it could be in the correct range to potentially support liquid water.

Kepler 186f is on the edge of the habitable zone, however and NASA said the planet only receives approximately 1/3 the energy from its star that the Earth receives from our sun.  If we equate that into physical terms; the brightness of that planet’s star at noon is approximately equal to the brightness on Earth approximately one hour before sunset.

The fact that Kepler 186f’s mass and composition are not yet known is another stumbling block to it’s supporting life. Although NASA suspects it to be a rocky planet, similar to some parts of Earth.

Professor Victoria Meadows, principal investigator for the Virtual Planetary Laboratory has said that there is also no evidence to suggest that the planet has an atmosphere that would be suitable to sustaining life.  But as Kepler 186f is approximately 500 light-years away, don’t expect NASA, or anyone else for that matter, to plan an expedition soon.

As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.

[Image via redorbit]

SOURCE: http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/17/5625138/nasas-kepler-program-discovers-the-most-earth-like-planet-yet