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25 Jul 2015   01:05:31 AM   Saturday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

Second Earth discovered!

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NASA said Thursday that its Kepler spacecraft has spotted "Earth`s bigger, older cousin": the first nearly Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of a star similar to our own.

Though NASA can`t say for sure whether the planet is rocky like ours or has water and air, it`s the closest match yet found.

It takes 385 days for the planet to orbit its star, very similar to Earth`s 365-day year, NASA said. And because it`s spent so long orbiting in this zone -- 6 billion years -- it`s had plenty of time to brew life, according to international media reports.

While it`s a bit farther from its star than Earth is from the sun, its star is brighter, so the planet gets about the same amount of energy from its star as Earth does from the sun. And that sunlight would be very similar to Earth`s.

Before the discovery of this planet, one called Kepler-186f was considered the most Earthlike. That planet, no more than a 10th bigger than Earth, is about 500 light-years away from us. But it gets only about a third of the energy from its star as Earth does from the sun, and noon there would look similar to the evening sky here, NASA says.

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