Ben Tirbaso ’16
Another Earth-like planet has been found, this one more promising than any other. On April 17, 2014, NASA revealed the discovery of Kepler-186f. Kepler-186f is the fifth planet in its solar system. Although its star is a red dwarf and gives off less energy than our sun, Kepler-186f still exists in an orbital zone capable of supporting life.
The atmospheric temperature is estimated to be similar to Earth’s, and would therefore be possible to host liquid water on the surface. Kepler-186f’s mass is also only 10% larger than Earth, the closest of any discovered planet with a rocky surface and temperate atmosphere.
NASA is planning to launch TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) in 2017 to look for planets similar to Kepler-186f within 100 light-years of Earth. And with the recent findings of the Kepler telescope, TESS’s prospects are looking great.