NASA’s Kepler mission team is set to announce a new discovery in a live teleconference today, and reports have claimed that they will reveal the discovery of the most Earth-like planet ever found, located 1,400 light years away.
The Kepler mission launched in 2009, its purpose being to search for Earthlike worlds in our galactic neighborhood. The mission has proven a resounding scientific success so far, as the Huffington Post notes, leading to the discovery of over 1,000 Earth-like planets since its launch. It also aims to identify planets that reside in the so-called “habitable zone,” or “Goldilocks zone,” of their parent star, where liquid water can form on their surface.
NASA has not yet revealed exactly what will be discussed during the teleconference. A statement from the space agency, however, strongly hinted that they will announce the discovery of an Earth-like exoplanet, as Space reports.
“Exoplanets, especially small Earth-size worlds, belonged within the realm of science fiction just 21 years ago. Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years — another Earth.”
— NASA Kepler (@NASAKepler) July 20, 2015
NASA has also deemed this week “the week for exoplanets” on Twitter, further stoking speculation among observers that today’s announcement would address the discovery of a new world. Meanwhile, TechCrunch editor-at-large Mike Butcher also took to Twitter, asserting that the new exoplanet had already been named Kepler 452b by NASA.
NASA’s teleconference regarding Kepler will include several participants. John Grunsfeld, an associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, is set to be a part of the announcement, as is Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. They will be joined by Jeff Coughlin, a Kepler research scientist at the SETI Institute, and Didier Queloz, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Cambridge.
The Kepler telescope has been instrumental in not only discovering Earth-like exoplanets, but also in collecting a staggering amount of data regarding their parent stars. Earlier this year, a study was released detailing 33 stars observed by Kepler, as the Inquisitr previously reported, representing the most comprehensive data set ever collected regarding distant stars.
NASA’s teleconference regarding Kepler’s new discovery will be live-streamed at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), and can be heard in the video above.
[Image via NASA]