Is it another Earth?
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The latest exoplanet discovery has astronomers pondering the possibility that it could be an exact replica of our own planet Earth, and that it could possess the ability to host life.
The discovery was announced at the meeting Monday by Christopher Burke of the SETI Institute as part of a batch of 461 new planet candidates discovered by Kepler. The object, which has a radius 1.5 times that of Earth and has been dubbed KOI 172.02, is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system. Astronomers involved in the latest study say is is likely a rocky planet, raising the prospect that it may have the ability to hold life. According to NASA, the planet takes 242 days to orbit its star (similar to Earth’s 365 days) and is about three-quarters of the Earth-sun distance from its parent star.