NASA may have found another earth in Kepler-452b, the newly discovered earth-like planet NASA is declaring the closest thing to Earth 2.0.

Kepler-452b Earth’s Cousin?

NASA announced on Thursday that the Kepler mission had discovered the closest planet to an Earth 2.0 in Kepler-452b. The planet, which is much bigger than the Earth we live on, orbits around a sun-like star and is described as being in the “habitable zone.”

Kepler-452b is the 1,030 confirmed planet discovered by NASA, but is the first to be considered close to “another Earth.”

“On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun. This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Despite the exciting nature of the discovery, Kepler-452b remains somewhat a mystery, with details such as mass and composition still unknown. To measure mass, NASA would have to get closer to the planet, which is 1,400 light-years away.

What is clear is that it is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and has a 385-day orbit. Its sun, Kepler-452, has been burning for 6 billion years – 1.5 billion years longer than our sun – and is currently at the same temperature as our sun, but it is 20 percent brighter and 10 percent larger in diameter.

“We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, bigger cousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment,” said Kepler data analysis lead Jon Jenkins.

Jenkins added that Kepler-452b has been orbiting its sun, Kepler-452, for 6 billion years – longer than Earth. “That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet,” Jenkins said.

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