Using a potent NASA space telescope to scan the skies for planets like ours where life might exist, astronomers say they have found the most Earth-like candidates yet.
Two of the five planets orbiting a sun-like star called Kepler-62 are squarely in what astronomers call the habitable zone – not too hot, not too cold and possibly bearing water.
The two planets are slightly larger than ours, and at least a couple of billion years older. The first, 62e, is about 40 per cent larger than Earth. It might be warm, maybe even a waterworld, and may experience flashes of lightning.
The second, 62f, is about 60 per cent larger than our planet, and orbits its star every 267 days, relatively close to Earth’s annual trajectory of 365 days. The planet may have polar caps, significant land masses and liquid water. Both are orbiting a 7-billion-year-old star 1200 light years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Learn more here, here or here.