Citizen scientists discover new exoplanet twice size of Earth that could have liquid water

Published 08.01.2019 18:06
Updated 08.01.2019 18:25

Citizen scientists have discovered a potentially habitable exoplanet roughly twice the size of Earth, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Monday.

According to reports, the planet named K2-288Bb was discovered using NASA's now defunct Kepler telescope.

The Kepler space telescope ran out of fuel late October, as expected, ending its nine and a half year mission of hunting for planets outside our solar system.

The newly-discovered planet also lies within "its star's habitable zone, the range of orbital distances where liquid water may exist on the planet's surface," NASA said.

Researchers have focused on finding Earth-sized rocky planets with the right temperatures so that water, if any exists, would be liquid, a condition believed to be necessary for life.

Furthermore, the planet could be gas-rich like Neptune or rocky like Earth. The size of the new world is also a rarity: 1.9 times the Earth's size and half of Neptune's. This puts it within the ranges of the "Fulton Gap".

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