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Will we ever settle on Kepler-186f, cousin of the Earth?

June 19 category:Sciences
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Will we ever settle on Kepler-186f, cousin of the Earth?

Kepler-186f is the first extrasolar planet the size of Earth found in the habitable zone of another star.

NASA Ames / SETI Institute / JPL-Caltech

The scientific world is in turmoil. An international team of astronomers said Thursday it had observed an exoplanet -that is to say, a planet outside our solar-system potentially habitable. Meets the sweet name of "Kepler-186f" it could contain water in the liquid state. L'Express reported on this discovery.

A habitable planet, it means that will ever settle?

Let spaceships and other rockets to the garage, there is very little chance that humans one day put their feet on Kepler-186f. This exoplanet is located some 490 light-years from the sun. 4.6 million billion kilometers. In reality, the so-called habitable planet is because it has pressure conditions -a sufficiently densely atmospheric and temperature allowing to harbor water in liquid form. An indispensable element in the emergence and development of a form of life as we know it on our planet

Does it look like the Earth?

For now, astrophysicists have no direct images of Kepler-186f. This finding is based on the data collection. In the analysis, they found many similarities with Earth. This exoplanet is about the same diameter -it is 10% Grosse meaning it is probably rocky like Mars or Venus (large planets are gaseous). "Given its small size, there is a high probability that it is rocky and it has an atmosphere. If this atmosphere offers good conditions, water can exist in liquid form on the surface," said Emeline Bolmont researcher at the University of Bordeaux who participated in this discovery. And that these conclusions are based on extrapolations because "to be sure that it would have to be rocky mass of the planet which is not possible with current instruments."

Moreover, it is also located at a distance from its star to suggest that he is an acceptable temperature at its surface. His star is, however, very different from the sun. More red, it is twice smaller and twenty times less bright. So even if Kepler-186f is twice as close to its star, it receives only a third of the solar energy received by the Earth. It is probably much colder.

Why has the world been dubbed Kepler-186f?

Astronomers have discovered in the extensive data collected by the Kepler space telescope before it falls down in 2013. Hence the name given to this planet. The "f" means that this is the fifth planet from the star system "Kepler-186" (after b, c, d, and e, the "a" being reserved for the star).

Is this the first time we discovered a habitable exoplanet?

Kepler-186f is undoubtedly the exoplanet, which is closest to the characteristics of the Earth. "I can not say we own the planet that has the best chance of harboring life, told Le Figaro Sean Raymond, co-author of the study. But that's part of the best candidates to date."

Until now, astronomers were able to observe exoplanets is located at a reasonable distance from their star but too big to be rocky planets is similar in size to the Earth, but too close to the sun. However, in November 2013, astronomers estimated that billions of Earth-sized planets orbiting Sun-like stars in our galaxy are potentially habitable.

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