April 19th, 2014 21:00 EST
NASA Discovers Kepler-186f an Earth Size Planet
"Our Planet Earth with its many scenic wonders like; white sand beaches, sunsets on Malibu Beach, soft, white dewy frost on your car`s windshield in January and it`s not so pleasant wonders like; smog on a hot July day in Los Angeles, fat people wearing spandex, or Red Necks in Alabama with their camouflage hunting gear and shotguns is still as unique as waking up the next morning in a Las Vegas strip hotel with a wedding ring on your finger and finding out you just married the same person you swept off that wooden bar stool in that corner bar last night and ended up in your hotel room with."
And funny to say, I actually have known people that this has happened to. I glad when I used to drink and I don`t any more for the many nights I pounded those draft beers and downed those many shots of Jack Daniels in all those bars I bar hopped in that I stayed in complete control of my senses and never went as far as to get married to the girl I woke up the next morning with.
But of course that is in the past and this is a different time now and for NASA it is another season of exciting times as those hard working NASA scientist just discovered the first Earth sized planet, no not bar hoping up and down the Las Vegas strip but using the unique NASA Kepler Space telescope.
The newly discovered planet known as Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system which stretches about five-hundred light years from Earth. The Kepler system is located in the Constellation Cygnus which also hosts four inner planets, Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d, and Kepler-186e which are lined up in orbit around a host star that is about half the size of the complete mass of our sun.
In this regions of space scientists refer to it as the Habitable Zone " which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of any orbiting planet. There have been other planets found in this zone of space but those other planet were about forty-percent larger in size than our own planet Earth and while scientist tried to understand the make-up of those larger planets they found that those larger planets were a lot more complex to understand than the newly discovered Kepler-186f is because Kepler-186f is the same size as Earth and shares a lot of the same characteristics as our unique planet.
Paul Hertz who is NASA`s Astrophysics Division Director commented on this, "The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth. Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind`s quest to find truly Earth-like worlds." (Hertz, P.)
Scientists are gathering more data and information about the demographics of Kepler-186f and its composition and so far the hypothesis suggests that the terrain on the Earth sized planet is more than like made-up of a rocky composition.
Elisa Quintana who is a research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA`s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California planted a little insight on the reasoning of NASA and scientists in general as to why the research continues to try to find a planet that shares the same characteristics as Earth does, "We know of just one planet where life exists -- Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth. Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward." (Quintana, E.)
The system the Kepler-186f resides in known as the constellation Cygnus and here the four other planets that are forty-percent larger than Earth also call home with the star that is half the size and mass of our sun is not just another ordinary star that shines bright and guides the way for astronomers to focus their large telescopes on, it is known as an M Dwarf or Red Dwarf which is a class of stars that make-up seventy-percent of all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
Quintana went on to say, "M dwarfs are the most numerous stars. The first signs of other life in the galaxy may well come from planets orbiting an M dwarf." (Quintana, E.)
Kepler-186f orbits its M-Dwarf star once about every 130-days. It receives only one-third of its energy from that M-Dwarf star which places it nearer to the outer edge of the habitable zone. If you were to comb the surface of Kepler-186f you would need to have a flashlight with you because the energy or brightness Kepler-186f receives from its star. Even at high-noon on the dingy planet the brightness emitted to its surface is only as bright as our sun appears to us an hours before sunset on this planet.
Thomas Barclay who is a research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames commented on this, "Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has. Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth." (Barclay, T.)
Science and the reasoning to try to find twin planets that match the same characteristics as Earth is to find other living beings out there in the wild black yonder of space. Scientists and a lot of people I know believe we are not the only living beings there are in our universe. I also believe scientists are at the same time of trying to find life on other planets are also looking for another locatable planet we all can someday if we have to move to. With the onset of global warming and how we have destroyed our planets of the past decade I think scientist realize we may have to one day move to another Earth-like planet.
NASA`s Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in `Habitable Zone`, (http://www.nasa.gov/kepler) Retrieved 2014.
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