Kepler-62f, a Active Life planet found

9:07 PM, Saturday, May 28th, 2016
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PlanetResearchers from the University of California have reported of a planet about 1,200 light-years away from Earth. In all probabilities, this planet has surface water with a good chance of supporting a habitable world for humans. Called Kepler-62f, it is in the direction of constellation Lyra and is about 40 percent bigger than our planet Earth.

“At that size, Kepler-62f is within the range of planets that are likely to be rocky and possibly could have oceans,” said Aomawa Shields, lead author and an astrophysics postdoctoral fellow.

Back in 2013, during NASA’s Kepler mission the planet was identified as the outermost of five planets orbiting a star that is smaller and cooler than our Sun. But the mission didn’t reveal a lot about the atmosphere, composition or the shape of the planet.

The team at the university, in order to determine whether it could support human life, came up with scenarios about what its atmosphere might be like and what the shape of the orbit might be. Talking about it, Shields added, “We found there are multiple atmospheric compositions that allow it to be warm enough to have surface liquid water. This makes it a strong candidate for a habitable planet.”

But since Kepler-62f is much farther away from its star than Earth is from the Sun, it would need more carbon dioxide in its atmosphere to be warm enough to maintain liquid water on the surface. Shields believes for the planet to be consistently habitable throughout its year, it would require an atmosphere that is three to five times thicker than Earth’s and composed entirely of carbon dioxide. On Earth, carbon dioxide makes up 0.04 percent of the atmosphere.
More than 2,300 exoplanets have been confirmed so far, but only a couple of dozen planets are known to be in the “habitable zone”.

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