A recent estimate places the chances of finding an exoplanet in the habitable zone of any given star in our galaxy at one in ten. Re-read that sentence tomorrow if you’re celebrating 420 Day to have your mind totally blown. Now NASA’s Kepler telescope has discovered three more planets in the habitable zone of their solar system to add to our growing tally.
The three potentially habitable exoplanets were among seven exoplanets found in two solar systems, Kepler-62 and Kepler-69, both in the constellation of Lyra.
The two outermost exoplanets orbiting the first system (Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f) lie in their K2 dwarf star’s Goldilocks zone where liquid water could exist. They’re 1,200 light years away. Kepler-62e is 60% larger than Earth, and Kepler-62f is 40% larger than Earth, making it the smallest potentially habitable exoplanet found yet. NASA believes it has a rocky composition.
The other potentially habitable exoplanet is Kepler-69b, which is 70% larger than Earth and orbits a G-type star (the same type as the Sun) 2,700 light years away. NASA believes it may actually be a super-Venus and not habitable.
So there you have it. Three more potentially habitable exoplanets. Can you even imagine how mindblowing this news would have been five years ago, and now it’s commonplace? It’s almost enough to make us not gripe about the lack of hoverboards. Almost.