Alien find likelier after NASA finds evidence of over 1,200 more planets

February 3rd, 2011 - 11:58 am ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 3 (ANI): After NASA revealed that it has found evidence for over 1200 planets more, the chances of discovering alien life are a lot higher.

And according to some experts, 54 of them could be able to support life.

Kepler chief scientist William Borucki said 54 is “an enormous amount, an inconceivable amount,” reports the Daily Mail.

Using Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, American scientists discovered the new planetary system made up of at least six planets orbiting a star 2,000 light years away.

“Not only is this an amazing planetary system, it also validates a powerful new method to measure the masses of planets,” said said Dr Daniel Fabrycky, at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The five inner planets in the Kepler-11 system range in size from 2.3 to 13.5 times the mass of the Earth. They orbit within a region that would fit inside Mercury’s orbit of the Sun. The sixth planet is larger and slightly farther out.

“Of the six planets, the most massive are potentially like Neptune and Uranus, but the three lowest mass planets are unlike anything we have in our solar system,” said Dr Jonathan Fortney, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Next, the scientists need to find if a planet has some of the basic conditions needed to support life, such as the proper size, composition, temperature and distance from its star.

More advanced aspects of habitability such as specific atmospheric conditions and the presence of water and carbon require telescopes that are not built yet.

The scientists report their find in the journal Nature. (ANI)

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