A Leap Closer to Life in Space

StarPlan’s Lars A. Buchhave contributed to the recent discovery of the smallest exoplanet yet found in the habitable zone of its host star, which is the region in space where the surface temperature of the planet is such that liquid water could exist.The planet, Kepler-22b, is approx. 2.4 times the size of the Earth and orbits a star similar to our own Sun with a period of 290 days.

 

NASA’s Kepler Satellite leading to the discovery of Kepler-22b was launched in March 2009 and has already discovered thousands of new unconfirmed planet candidates, some of which are as small as or smaller than the Earth. Kepler-22b is the first confirmed exoplanet in the habitable zone and is located approximately 600 light years away from Earth. With today’s propulsion technology it will take around 2 million years to reach the newly discovered planet with a probe.

 

To find out more about exoplanet research, the discovery of Kepler-22b, and the research at StarPlan, you can download the paper here or contact Lars A. Buchhave at buchhave@astro.ku.dk. Follow more exciting research and activities on StarPlan’s Facebook page.