#Kepler186f

041814 Kepler 168f

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star/index.html#.U1BFejhwsvw

NASA’s Kepler Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The ‘Habitable Zone’ of Another Star
April 17, 2014
The artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone
The artist’s concept depicts Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. [Click link below for more.]
Image Credit:
NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
The diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun.
The diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun. [Click link below for more.]
Image Credit:
NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.

“The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth,” said Paul Hertz, NASA’s Astrophysics Division director at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind’s quest to find truly Earth-like worlds.”

Although the size of Kepler-186f is known, its mass and composition are not. Previous research, however, suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky.

“We know of just one planet where life exists — Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth,” said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science. “Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward.”

Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system, about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four companion planets, which orbit a star half the size and mass of our sun. The star is classified as an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

“M dwarfs are the most numerous stars,” said Quintana. “The first signs of other life in the galaxy may well come from planets orbiting an M dwarf.”

Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130-days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset.

“Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has,” said Thomas Barclay, research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames, and co-author of the paper. “Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth.”

The four companion planets, Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d, and Kepler-186e, whiz around their sun every four, seven, 13, and 22 days, respectively, making them too hot for life as we know it. These four inner planets all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth.

The next steps in the search for distant life include looking for true Earth-twins — Earth-size planets orbiting within the habitable zone of a sun-like star — and measuring the their chemical compositions. The Kepler Space Telescope, which simultaneously and continuously measured the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, is NASA’s first mission capable of detecting Earth-size planets around stars like our sun.

Ames is responsible for Kepler’s ground system development, mission operations, and science data analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.  The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler


AR14-030

Media contacts:

Michele Johnson
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-6982
michele.johnson@nasa.gov

J.D. Harrington
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-5241
j.d.harrington@nasa.gov

> Digital press kit

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/digital-press-kit-kepler-186f-an-earth-size-habitable-zone-planet/#.U1BGVDhwsvw

Digital press kit – Kepler-186f: The First Earth-size Habitable Zone Planet of Another Star
April 17, 2014

Media requests for interviews with Kepler mission experts should be directed to Michele Johnson, public affairs officer at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

Artist concept of Kepler-186f
The artist’s concept depicts Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. [Click link below for more.]
Image Credit:
NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
The diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun. [Click link below for more.]
Image Credit:
NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
Quintana summary slide.
Quintana summary slide.
Image Credit:
NASA
System comparisons slide.
System comparisons slide.
Image Credit:
NASA
Barclay summary slide.
Barclay summary slide.
Image Credit:
NASA
The "habitable zone" slide.
The “habitable zone” slide.
Image Credit:
NASA

Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

Briefing resources:

— Media advisory (4/15) – NASA Hosts Media Teleconference to Announce Latest Kepler Discovery
— Press release (4/17) – NASA’s Kepler Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The ‘Habitable Zone’ of Another Star
— Media telecon – Ames UStream channel
— Presentation (PDF, 51MB)
— Link to scientific paper, “An Earth-sized Planet in the Habitable Zone of a Cool Star” (PDF, 1.5 MB) and supplementary materials (PDF, 1.5 MB). NOTE: This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science Vol. 344 #6181 (18 April 2014), DOI: 10.1126/science.1249403

Panelists: Biographies (PDF, 13KB)

— Douglas Hudgins, exoplanet exploration program scientist, NASA’s Astrophysics Division in Washington
— Elisa Quintana, research scientist, SETI Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
— Tom Barclay, research scientist, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames
— Victoria Meadows, professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, Seattle, and principal investigator for the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, a team in the NASA Astrobiology Institute at Ames

Video File (including animation):

— Link to preview news video file, including Kepler-186 animation, panelist interview excerpts, Kepler launch video
— Animation caption and credits (PDF, 10KB)

Social Media: #Kepler186f

Twitter: @NASAKepler
Facebook: www.facebook.com/nasaskeplermission

General Kepler Image and Video Resources: 

— NASA image usage policy
— Video: Kepler Field of View
— Video: Kepler Overview
— Video: Transit Light Curve
— Video: Kepler Spacecraft Launch, March 6, 2009
— For more Kepler images, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/multimedia/index.html

Related Links:

— Kepler mission fact sheet (PDF, 2.2MB)
— Kepler lithographs
— Kepler FAQs
— Past Kepler Discoveries
— NASA’s Ames Research Center
— The SETI Institute

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