December 5th, 2011
11:16 AM ET

Planet confirmed that could have water

Kepler-22b is the first confirmed planet in the “habitable zone,” the area around a star where a planet could exist with liquid water on its surface, that has been discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission.

The planet’s radius is about 2.4 times that of the Earth. It is located about 600 light years away. Its orbital period is shorter than that of the Earth: a "year" on Kepler-22b is 290 days instead of 365.

There were two other planets confirmed this year by other projects in the habitable zone, but their stars are much cooler than our Sun, and their orbits are more like that of Venus or Mars, scientists say.

Kepler-22b is 15% closer to its star than we are to the Sun. But since Kepler-22b's star is dimmer, lower in temperature and smaller than our Sun, researchers' modeling suggests it is a similar temperature to the Earth, said Bill Borucki, Kepler principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center.

"If the greenhouse warming were similar on this planet and had a surface, its surface temperature would be something like 72 Fahrenheit, a very pleasant temperature here on Earth."

Share your thoughts about searching for life on other planets

The warmer a planet, the more evaporation of water there would be, Borucki said. A planet can't have a surface temperature that's very hot without losing all of the surface water.

The Kepler mission reported in February that it had found 54 planet candidates in the habitable zone; Kepler-22b is the first of these to be confirmed, and those results will be published in The Astrophysical Journal. There are still 48 potential planets from that batch.

Researchers find planets by examining the brightness of stars as a function of time; brightness drops when a potential planet crosses the star. Three transits are required for a planet confirmation. The period of the transit of Kepler 22-b was 7.4 hours. It did not appear to give off its own light, indicating it is a planet and not a star.

Scientists do not yet have a measurement of the mass of Kepler 22-b, which would tell them more about the composition of the planet. This summer, when the planet's star will be high in the sky, ground-based telescopes can attempt to get its mass.

The planet is even more mysterious because its radius is between that of Earth and Uranus and Neptune, both of which have radii about four times the size of Earth's. So we don't know what a planet in this size range typically looks like.

"We have no planet like this in our solar system," he said.

Is life restricted to Earth, or could it exist somewhere like Kepler 22-b? It may be that the characteristics of Earth, with its particular position in the solar system, particular magnetic field strength and presence of larger planets like Jupiter make Earth very rare in having life (this is called the "Rare Earth Hypothesis.") But it's also possible that life in the universe is common, and we're only one example.

"As soon as we find an independent example of life somewhere else, we’ll know it’s ubiquitous throughout the universe. We’re all looking for No. 2," said Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute.

The Kepler mission has now identified a total of 2,326 planet candidates.

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Filed under: In Space • Kepler • News
soundoff (1,288 Responses)
  1. eville11

    Ahhh, the folly of man... to assume they know, and understand. All they learn, is only through the senses they claim are higher than the apes. And the apes won't debate, they are wiser.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Kevin

      But, by definition, humans are apes; currently the only extant hominid species within the taxonomic family Hominidae which includes the great apes. To claim that we're wiser than the apes is to claim that we're wiser than ourselves, which is tautological nonsense. And to claim that humans aren't apes, that we're something other than apes, is just intellectually dishonest.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  2. OH Lawd

    Give me a break. A ton of posters proclaiming truth as if they know everything there is to know already. We aren't even using all of our brains, but yet you guys prove you're definitely using only 1% of your brain by pretending to use all of your brain.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  3. Ryan

    Wonderful finding. Can't wait to see what Kepler finds next.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  4. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdjEPqWjTeU&w=640&h=360]

    December 6, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  5. Confident

    Wow! They are 100 % sure the planet MAY HAVE water. I'd bet to say there are some that are 100 % sure the planet MAY NOT have water. (I'm so confused – which is it?)

    December 6, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Occupy Space

      I beleve they mean that they are 100% sure of the energy output of the star and distance of the planet from the star to place it in the zone where liquid water could exist. Think about it.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Ryan

      It lies in the "habitable zone" which could allow this planet to have water on it's surface. No, scientists won't know for certain until we can spectroscopically analyze the light from this planet (we need a truly giant telescope for that). But it's an exciting discovery as it's the best option we have for a planet that can support life outside our solar system.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:16 am |
      • barry

        The terrestrial planet finder telecope if ever built will do the job, but no one wants to pay for it so it likely will never get built. sucks really sucks.

        December 6, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • eville11

      location location location

      December 6, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  6. Chan

    Ah, Trolls will be the end of freedom of speech....

    December 6, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  7. Occupy Space

    As the 1% consume and destory this planet they need to take steps for their offspring. That means having enough money for that ticket into orbit, base on the moon, mars, or wherever is next while the rest of us die off here.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  8. Anonymous42

    Occupy Kepler-22b

    December 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  9. streetheat1

    The fastest man-made craft at present are the voyager satellites that launched in 1977. Almost 35 years later and still moving at approx. 35,000 miles per hour they will not reach the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, for another 80,000 years. Proxima Centauri is only 4.5 light years away. This new planet is 600 light years away. So while this discovery is intriguing, that blue water might be blue kool-aid, but we'll never know.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Kevin

      Your comment is akin to "man will never fly". Frankly, to consign the physical limitations of speed to existing technology, would be foolish. We're already looking into ways an ion drive might push a space craft to one tenth the speed of light, reducing deep space mission schedules from centuries to mere decades.

      Concerning the planet's composition. We certainly don't have to visit the planet to learn about its composition; that's what spectroscopy is for. The challenge here is masking out the light from the parent star and analyzing only the light being reflected off the planet's surface. The James Webb Space Telescope will almost be able to do it. Proposed orbiting planet-finder interferometers certainly will, if they are ever built.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  10. iBod

    "So Frank, I looked through the T-Scope X-3000 today."
    "Oh, good. What'd you find?"
    "Those rats from 600 light years away found out about us!"
    "Didn't we permanently wipe out their technology about two thousand years ago and replace it with some book?"
    "Oh yeah! I remember that! What fools...Good times, Goooood tiiiimes!"

    December 5, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  11. @Frozenyo

    Thanks for the hoot!

    Cheers

    December 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  12. Mark

    Only 600 light years away? We'll never know if these planets have life, because we'll never get there. That's too bad. The fastest moving object that we've sent is at 38,000 mph.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  13. Barry

    Let's mine their Unobtanium!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Kevin

      It's unobtainable.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  14. Al

    Money well spent on nothing. - Based on the premise that life "just happens" in water. Great logic. Nobody X nothing= everything. Brilliant ! Thank you, Carl Sagan - his whole life spent in science and his only conclusion on his death bed was that the universe exists. Bravo.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Kevin

      "Based on the premise that life "just happens" in water"

      That's a strawman argument. Nobody suggests that water guarantees life. All we know is that life, as we know it, requires liquid water. So if we were to search for life as we know it, then it would be logical to look in areas where liquid water may be present. And those areas are within the so-called "Goldilocks" (or habitable) zones around planet-bearing stars, where surface temperatures are not too hot or too cold.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  15. yeap that's right

    @Frozenyo

    Thanks for the chuckle...that was a hoot!

    Cheers

    December 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  16. Jeff

    It's amazing to discover new earth like planets and to boldly go where..... The problem is if we did travel to the far reaches, 600 years away, we'd find a way to destroy that planet too just like Earth. We don't live in a Star Trek type of universe. We're still fighting wars and our own greed and ego's. Until then, thinking about other worlds are left to only people who expand their minds and believe in peace. Maybe one day our materialism and ego's will be a thing of the past. We can explore the universe with other countries. We come from the planet Earth in peace.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  17. myglutenfreereview

    What is sad is that in order to make science logical the "believers" in science must have a visceral hatred for those that have faith in the author of science? What the Christian faith is all about is not whether we are right, wrong or think we are perfect. In fact, quite the opposite. Christians know they are flawed and "sinners". We just want to share the joy in knowing that the creator of the universe loves each and every one of us personally regardless of our flaws (even the atheists and agnostics) that we want to share that . Christianity is a choice. YOU can choose to believe or not. If anyone can grasp the reality and finality of Hell they would not want their worst enemies condemned. We, as Christians, are not here to judge. We offer our beliefs and you can choose to accept them or not. Oh, and btw: I believe God has created life on other planets. WE ARE NOT ALONE.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Yes, Christians "just want to share the joy in knowing that the creator of the universe loves each and every one of us" by burning "heretics" at the stake, torturing them on the rack, or just flat-out brutally killing them in Crusades or by conquering peoples on land that was not theirs, etc., etc., etc.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
      • barry

        Hi religion is for dolts I love your name, anyway nice try using history and reason to bash the crazies, thing is most of em have not even read their stupid bible. They only remember what they were taught in sunday school, fairy tales and such. religion does one thing real good and that is it closes ones mind sometimes forever !

        December 6, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • Kevin

      "Christianity is a choice."

      It's a false choice because it involves a threat; believe in the Christian god or enjoy eternal pain and suffering. Threat systems in general are very successful at directing people to obey. And of course this particular threat system has produced the two largest religions in the world; Christianity and Islam. Islam just edging out Christianity in popularity with its slightly more visceral threats. I'm just saying that if you ever come to understand why your religion is popular, and you don't have a sick feeling in your stomach, then you might be a sociopath.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • barry

      christianity a choice ? Do the poor children who are taught the rubbish of all religions have a choice ? No they do not, its not until they grow up and begin to think for themselves and then they have a choice. Many of them,the ones with plain common sense laugh at the religions they were taught, they think for themselves and let go of fairy tales and gods.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • barry

      what kind of name is my gluten free review ? tryin to sell something here ? oh by the way there is no such thing as heaven or hell ! oh that is unless you are of a very simple mind I feel sorry for you.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:14 am |
  18. KrazNat

    CONFIRMED that it COULD have water.... That makes no sense. Geez, I hope we are not paying those scientists much of a salary for that kind of lame, useless reseach !

    December 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Don't be such an idiot. Why don't you do some freakin' research on the science behind the discovery instead of blindly ridiculing it? Then you may understand why they are making this claim.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Kevin

      Maybe if you went on NASA's Kepler website and paid more attention to the actual science than to popular science articles written by ignorant and overenthusiastic journalists, you might have a more positive opinion about what they've been discovering.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
      • Cornex

        Well maybe if you two pitiful Science FanBoys (yes, you ReligionIs4Dolts and Kevin) wouldn't blindly believe everything your hero's in lab coats feed you, then you could come live in reality with the rest of us.

        December 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
      • Kevin

        Cornex, who's blindly believing anything here? Even if, for purely practical reasons, you and I have to trust what scientists tell us, the fact remains that their conclusions are based on verifiable, reproducible, empirical data. And we could, at any time, given a proper investment of knowledge, host or our own research project to try to verify their findings. So it's not blindly believing. That's a wholly dishonest accusation.

        December 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  19. PhilG.

    I just confirmed that my farts stink.

    I'll bet what I confirmed won't cost the U.S. taxpayer ten billion dollars over a decade where we will get another teaser study that we're -that much closer to another planet that -could- have water on it-just send us another ten billion dollars so we can find that out..

    December 5, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • barry

      phil you have a closed mind why dont you go sit in a corner and await your rapture !

      December 6, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  20. Cas

    If we send a rocket that travels at the speed of 0.22 caliber bullet with a multi-cellular organism's DNA in attempt to implant life in case none exists, then it will get there in about 540 million years from now and probably another billion for life to evolve to have chance of intelligence...don't know how old that sun is but we are at the 12th hr here on our solar system and maybe good time to think of how we could implant basics of life somewhere else?

    December 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  21. fiskenmann

    @Easy Fix!....you forgot #8.....your opinion is meaningless and your life has no purpose....you have a nice non-existence.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  22. Venkat

    1 light year = 9460528400000 KM.
    The fastest spacecraft without humans is the Helios 2 travels at 250,000 kph
    To travel 1 light yr with that aircraft it will take 4320yrs
    so travelling 600 light yrs = 4320*600 = 2592000yrs

    So, even if we try reaching there with this speed expecting our next generations to be there, and extending the avg life span of humans to 100 it would take 2,59,200 generations to reach there.
    Lets start our journey now 😉

    December 5, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  23. Closer to meeting Jaerod now...

    Frozenyo, how do you know their sheep? For all we know, they could be macroscopic amboeba's!!! And if they are sheep, they are really big and strong sheep because the planet is 2.4 times the size of Earth. So, if they're sheep, then we can create a religion where they give us wool for offerings, and then if they are amboeba's, we conuld just mess around with them and give some nonsense doctrine like we have here on this planet (imagine giving them the order to be fruitful and multiply?). The point being Earth: we go there, we can have some FUN doing that with the native creatures lololol! But serioulsy, I always worry about humans colonizing other worlds and having the same problems with what Imperialism did on our planet...

    December 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  24. msadr

    First, I don't know how this article led to a discussion about God since it has absolutely nothing to do with religion or the lack thereof. Second, I think it's ridiculous that all these atheists will stick their arrogant noses in the air and insist that they don't believe in God because they think there is no direct proof, but, they seem to be staunch believers in life on other planets even though there is not one singe shred of evidence that any exists. Hypocritical fools. Oh, I know what will follow. There will be all the comments about inferred evidence or probabilities. By I submit to you that there is dramatically more evidence for the existence of an intelligent supreme creator than there is for a single cell of life anywhere other than here. Some people are just too blinded by their arrogance to acknowledge it.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe! (fishbone)

      December 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • queenbee10

      religionis4: give a science program a government grant and they will say they discovered or are about to invent, decipher or discover "anything" to try to keep their budget and hold onto their jobs.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
      • barry

        queen bee hey give some guy in a robe a little peyote and a few followers and all of a sudden hala luya god has spoken !! hmmm its strange why god is so silent nowdays I mean why does he only talk to crazy folk these days ? You know many years ago there was a science fiction meeting arther c clarke was there Isaac asimov was there and so was a guy named L ron hubbard , one of the writers said to L ron " I bet you could start your own religion " and low and behold we have the scientologists a new religion was born, and it shows how stupid all of them are period.

        December 6, 2011 at 4:28 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      queenbee: No doubt you have a point, but the difference between a religion that was made up by a guy who goes into the mountains alone and comes back claiming "god" had revealed the "truth" to him and a modern scientific claim is that the modern scientific claim can (and no doubt will) be verified independently by other agencies, scientists, governments. End of story.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • soulcall

      Come on ....somebody taught you to believe that god stuff- Alien with a laptop created us: Please disprove me

      December 6, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  25. salman

    remember that this image is from 600 years ago (as it took 600 years for that beam of light to travel to earth), so things may have changed by then.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  26. I Am - I Ain't

    Let me ask once again: How can such a fascinating find slime down to a vicious argument on religion? You atheist freaks hate the religious freaks and you religious freaks hate the atheist freaks plus your own self-doubts. I'd prefer you all simply shoot each other dead so we could talk about this new planet without the clutter.
    I'd go to this new planet tomorrow if I could. I'd take guns to kill off anyone talking religion. You see, we'd have a DAY ONE with certainty. Maybe, we mightd "blow up" the earth with pleasure as we depart. We could send the religious freaks to heaven and the athiest freaks to hell and be all done with it. Otherwise, we'd just contaminate a new place to live and eventually leave it and blow it up in disgust as well.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      That's cool if you could eliminate the religion/anti-religion contamination, but what are you gonna do about the technology/pollution? You planning on making everyone conform to an agrarian society?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Just an Observation

      With a leader such as you, you'd all be anihilated from "DAY ONE". Then, we'd be back to SQUARE ONE. Meaning, NO ONE on the new planet. I'm just sayin'.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  27. william moore

    Are there other intelligent beings in our universe?
    It is my contention that yes there are, there were, and there will be more in the future. We earthlings appeared on the galactic scene 5 billion years after the birth of our sun on a planet with liquid water and the right elements in place to allow life to begin.
    I believe that the first intelligent life apeared in the universe 5 biullion years after the Big Bang, 9 billion years ago. That life may be long extinct by now due to their sun's dying, catastrophic self-extermination during their peak techniological years, exterminatioin by the machines they made, inability to colonize other star systems, etc So, this 5 billion year time span is an ongoing and continuing period of time for intelligent life to evolve in whatever solar systems in whatever galaxies which are conducive to allow such evolution.
    There are billions of galaxies in the observable universe with billions of stars (suns) in each of these galaxies. I submit to you that the universe is teeming with intelligent life at the present time and that new civilizations of intelligent beings will surely evolve in the future.
    However, proof of my beliefs may not surface in my lifetime. The distances between us and other habitable planets with intelligent life are just too great to expect any type of communication, even in our own galaxy. We want to know for sure, but do we really want to make contact?

    December 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  28. LALALOVELY GAGAGOVELY

    I wanna write a book about how ill be living in Kepler b-22 in the future. it'll start off like this: HI. I LIKe MY PLANET(: WHEEEE:'D any more suggestions?:DDDDD hehe jk but this is a pretty cool article(: it was fun reading it

    December 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  29. Kevin

    For those keeping track, this brings the percentage of habitable-zone planets (out of all confirmed planets) to 0.4802%, thus bringing the statistical number of habitable-zone planets in our galaxy to 960 million. Ponder that number for a moment. If you still think we're alone in this universe (or heck even this galaxy), look in a mirror, and BI- -CH SLAP YOURSELF!

    December 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  30. Sam Rupani

    Good Evening.

    Water is every where in this Universe.

    Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Neptune, Uranus all have water now...

    NASA and Americans have taken flight to Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Neptune and Uranus in ordinary flights from Houston, Texas, USA.

    NASA has habbit of keeping everything secret..... but water is there....

    In Milky Way there are 600 billion planets full of water.

    Nature will not betray you till....

    Thanks

    Sam Rupani

    Houston, Texas

    December 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  31. cliffpistonjr

    It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination. – Douglas Adams

    December 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • barry

      douglass adams books are all fantasy they are not even considered science fiction in other words he does not know sheet .

      December 6, 2011 at 4:44 am |
  32. eatthecrayon

    In a hundred years we will all be dead (everyone in this post), some sooner some later. All of the debate on whats fiction and what holds truth will never come to an end thus motivating people to work harder. When we believe in something, we love it – loving something requires patience and apathy, passion and tolerance. Mostly everyone wants the final word and we all want to be heard. Despite religion and science, take a step back and realize what's inevitable for all of us. Life is beautiful – its all we got.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  33. upstateny

    Why do we need to know this and why are we spending millions of dollars finding out. There are alot of answers that I would like to know but considering the situation of our country, I think the money can be used elsewhere.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Sooner or later we're going to royally bork this planet and will need somewhere else to go and destroy, so better to start looking now.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
      • queenbee10

        If there is intelligent life on any planet we go to–hopefully they have the means and mindset to destroy us before our locusts selves even plant a flag on their planet. Would save them a whole bunch of grief and aggravation.

        December 5, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  34. Michael Klein

    I don't understand. This article is about a new planet found orbiting a distant star. Why is this starting a whole discussion about whether G-d exists? Seems off-topic to me.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • msadr

      amen!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  35. snarks

    You do not need an earth like planet to sustain life. There are hundreds of trillions of planets that we know of, that means there are either infinite planets, or a number we can't even come up with of planets out there. Think outside of the circle, liberals.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  36. M in Oz

    Yay...it COULD have water? Maybe not yay...what a waste of an article.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  37. Yes2day

    religion is fun for people and aliens!

    December 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  38. kampercam

    Who cares? Let me know when you find a planet covered with oil and then we will talk.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      some moons are covered in methane gas ...

      December 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  39. Mopety-Mope!

    Well I just got back from outer space,
    I met a little girl that had no face,
    2 pair of arms and 4 left feet,
    anda when she walked she skipped a beat!
    Mopety-mope Da – De Mope Mope Mope !!!

    December 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  40. Dibs!

    I've got dibs on the water rights on this planet. It'll be the most expensive bottled water in the universe (as far as we know). Shipping costs will be gigantic, but rich people will be all over it.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  41. TMoney

    It's Melancholia.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  42. Harold Wintemberg

    So who is going first? Where is the Starship your'e going to fly there in that will go Warp 9?

    December 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  43. Kenneth

    A new planet to start a new life kinda like the movie " Water World " Dear N.A.S.A. please accept myself as the first person to arrive on the new planet i would like to be the first person to live on this new planet please contact me threw the supplied e-mail address. I am very serious i do not want to live on Earth anymore i feel there is another planet out there that will suit me better thank you , Kenneth

    December 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  44. keltari

    Why does there always have to be an artist rendering of every supposed planet they find? Are we incapable of imagining on our own?

    December 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      yes we are. this planet was discovered by the effect it had on dimming its host start as it past in front of it. other techniques detect the wobble to its host star it causes. unfortunately, not pictures yet

      December 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  45. Jack Naughton

    Any Jobs there?

    December 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  46. Jamoak

    Great! It may support life!! can we send the Kardashians there now?

    December 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  47. Dan

    OK – great! Now how do we get there???
    Wrap your mind around that one.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  48. Chuck

    Interesting....An article about the discovery of a world that might harbor life has kicked of this huge debate about religion. What would happen if we actually found another world with life on it, even microbes like maybe Mars. Or actually made contact with another intelligent race. How would people react. I find it a scary thought.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Dan

      Even if we did make it to another mysterious Earthlike planet, we would be eaten by little green people.

      December 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • msadr

      I dunno. But it doesn't really matter to any religious theology. I mean no modern religion addresses the issue at all (although some ancient ones did). Not even the Poem in Genesis chapter 1 says anything about whether life might have been created in other places. And there is no logical reason why God would create life only here, or restrict life from spreading away from here. So, I don't think any religious people would be upset. It wouldn't conflict with any theology or doctrine that I know of. But then, I'm not the average religious person.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  49. Leather Rope

    Author, are you sure it was confirmed? Or is it just the results of computer modeling? Keep in mind that modern-day astronomy is more like astrology; i.e. a bunch of over-educated academics offering theories (wild guesses) over brandy and cigars.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Look closer

      No, there's real science to it. You just don't understand it.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      moron

      December 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  50. JERSEYTOMATO

    Would be a great planet if we can grow delicious Jersey Tomatoes there!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  51. yago

    No more Only Child Complex I guess.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  52. wallice breen

    To the people showing doubts about humans ever seeing this planet, keep in mind that they found somthing that travels faster than the speed of light-neutrinos!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • queenbee10

      Are neutrinos people? NO? Then the doubters of humans EVER seeing this planet stands. Thanks for playing. Which planets in our own galaxy have humans managed to land on? NONE? Yeah–it is finally becoming "clear" now. LOL

      December 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  53. Bud

    Remember the comments here if you ever find yourself in combat

    December 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  54. Rich Weigel

    First one there wins!!!!!!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  55. scientificpoetry

    Very interesting. Hopefully we'll discover life on another planet and finally put all this God bunk to rest. Then again, all the religious fools will argue that God put that life there and anywhere else in the universe we find it. It could not have possibly occurred as a result of natural forces...

    December 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      You sound insecure and unscientific when you bring God into the conversation. Let the science speak for itself ...

      December 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • msadr

      Of course it's a result of natural forces, which were DESIGNED BY GOD. It amazes me that some people just don't get it.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
      • Nick

        Whether it was designed some kind of deity or a flying spaghetti monster is not a question science can resolve. Science studies the natural world... It can never have anything to say about the *supernatural* world.

        "God did it." is not a useful answer...

        December 6, 2011 at 12:37 am |
      • Pastafarian

        I have been touched by His noodly appendage. The Flying spaghetti Monster sent life-laden meatballs to all corners of His universe. So duh! Of course there's life on other planets. Any of you "science" nuts don't believe me? Then prove me wrong!

        December 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • queenbee10

      Stay scientific–you mean "natural, random, forces created from nothing. LOL

      December 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
      • Pastafarian

        QB: you clearly have little-to-no understanding of science, the scientific method, or the scientific world on which you live.

        December 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  56. Aaron

    There is a huge gap between Could Have water and Has water.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      True dat ... I suppose what is significant is that it is in the habitable zone

      December 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  57. Ben

    Facepalm... It only took two comments to get the hate flowing.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  58. justmeanddog

    Is life restricted to Earth? This question always makes me smile and shake my head when I hear educated intelligent people give voice to it.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  59. Johnny

    It is so crazy how EVERYTHING is a stupid fight in these comments. We have to look for intelligent life forms because the comments sections have shed light on our stupid, pointless fighting.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  60. Johnny

    It is so crazy how EVERYTHING

    December 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  61. DrDiomedes

    Quit talking about god! This is a science topic. Congrats to the scientists and engineers who've worked on this project. Its been in the works for quite awhile. We will find bio-indicators soon, I suspect.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  62. MS

    Good. Now somebody invent Warp Drive so all of the sane people can leave this planet.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  63. Scott

    I cannot understand how anyone could believe that ours is the only planet with life in the entire universe. It's a near-mathematical certainty that we are not so unique, and only slightly less likely that we are the only planet with intelligent life. I'm talking about dolphins, of course. 😉

    December 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  64. larry simpson

    After further study it has been reveiled that the planet is uninhabitable. Only democrats live there

    December 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  65. Alex

    What's cool about this announcement is if the planet is only 600 light years away, it's possible that life – even intelligent life – could be detected if it's evolved that far. If it weren't for certain political factors and religious factions that regressed progress for half a millennia (remember Galileo?) we could have been sending out radio signals into space back in the 1400s. So who knows? It's great to hear of a discovery of a planet that isn't a so-called "super Earth" or something that's little more than a big Mercury.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • queenbee10

      What is even "cooler" is that if life is on this planet, it could have existed and been extinguished during the time we found out it existed. Funnier still, is even if we developed a way to get there, the planet may already have been destroyed–such are the limitation of light years.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  66. Milky Pirate

    There is an absolute possibility that there might be something 600 light years away, that's just super. That is about as valuable as one of Greg Forbes' TorCon values - there is a 40% chance of a tornado within a 300 mile radius. There are a lot of "pro science" people on here and I want to know, what is the cost/benefit ratio for something like this. I imagine that millions were spent and we have gained nothing. I think that our science dollars are better spent figuring out this planet and working on real problems.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • msadr

      yea yeah yeah. But if we don't spend the money, no progress ever WILL be made. We are human and we have an innate need to boldly go. It might take another million years, but I think humanity will eventually colonize some other place. Our survival might depend on it. And when your life is at stake, you won't mourn the money.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
      • queenbee10

        Most "humans" do not care about a world they and their children and great grandchildren will never see–especially since the problems on this planet just may ensure that within a few generations, most humans and their descendants may be destroyed totally by war, famine, disease etc.

        Your argument would be just as valid for coal–encourage people to buy at least a thousand pieces, put it under pressure and convince them that perhaps in a million years their descendants will have diamonds–which will far offset the original price of the coal. Yeah. Makes perfect sense. (NOT)

        December 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Nick

      If only I had a $1 for every time I heard the "why don't scientists work on solving practical problems instead of...", I would be a billionaire by now.
      #1. Since when have scientists STOPPED trying to make your day-to-day life better??? That vaccination you got as a kid keeping you healthy... the water purification plant supplying you with gallons more fresh drinking water than you actually need.... the artificial fertilizer enabling farmers to grow enough crops on land that would be nearly impossible to do otherwise... Hell... even the clothes on your back are in some way connected to a man or woman doing 'pointless' inquiry some time in the past.

      #2. Since there is always synergism and cross pollination going on within the sciences, no one can predict which bit of knowledge may lead you on a path to untold riches and unimaginable practical applications that make your life better.
      Do you think Max Plank could foresee iPads, grocery store laser bar-code scanners, and MRI machines when he was investigating black body radiation? (i.e. Why things change colour as they became hotter.)

      December 6, 2011 at 12:24 am |
      • Pastafarian

        R'amen, brother! Now, copy and paste that post after every post from QueenBee! 🙂

        December 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  67. sandra

    The question isn't is there life on other planets, it's 'how fast can we get there and ruin things for them, too'???

    December 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  68. That's Nice

    Thank you for finding a planet which could sustain life about 6000 light years away. Let me know when a person is able to live that long, or if you find a wormhole in space to get there.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      600 ly, not 6000.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  69. Tim of Colorado

    Even if we found life 600 light years from earth, what would we do with that knowledge? Maybe we can send them a text that they will receive in the year 2612. Then by 3212, they might give us the answer on how to cure split ends. This all might be really cool for 3% of the population, but the rest of us would rather have the money go to a cure for cancer, or numerous other worthwhile charities (educational, environmental, or humanitarian).

    December 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  70. Necrofun

    I wonder if the economy on Kepler-22b sucks like it does here.

    December 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  71. dreamer96

    Maybe one of these reasons;
    1. They keep losing the keys to their space. and are checking everywhere for them....
    2. They get confused on which opening is our mouth...they kept looking for teeth up our rear end...after all they have been listening to Rush limbaugh on the flight....

    December 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  72. dreamer96

    If this newly found planet does not have plenty of trout or salmon, well I'm not interested....

    December 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  73. Zeta Riticulan

    Don't knock it 'till you try it!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  74. IceT

    Very exciting .. everyday we tick closer to proving life off of the Earth, what a day that'll be!

    December 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • msadr

      LOL, sounds like a religious pipe dream to me!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  75. CHAD J

    Why would God make another habitable planet? Does that planet have a Jesus too?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      Why? Because God needs another planet full of beings to worship him .. what else is life for?

      December 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Source

      Who is the clay to tell the potter what He can or can't do? The Bible is the only source that details a scientific creation with a feasible starting point, God (Yah-weh, Jesus, Alpha & Omega, I am, Everlasting Father, Lord Almighty, Immaneul, Holy Spirit). Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Heb 11:1 So here is a thought. Lets assume you die tomorrow from this human experience on Earth and God IS real. You are standing in front of Him, and he looks at you sternly and says, "What do you have to say for yourself?" If God finds you guilty, then you have EVERYTHING to lose, and nothing to gain. BUT If God finds you pleasing and repentant, then you have EVERYTHING to gain and nothing to lose. God makes it clear in the Bible that you are either with Him or against Him. Why not be with Him and get an infinite amount of years of joy/peace in addition to your short finite life (maybe 75yrs?) on Earth? The God of the Bible is loving, patient, powerful, just and righteous. He punishes the wicked and rewards the faithful. He forgives even the worse people who come to accept Him, and He provides salvation to EVERYONE who accepts Jesus as Lord & Savior. For clear Jesus preaching/teaching check out http://www.ccjasper.com, http://www.marshill.org, http://www.southeastchristian.org I once was lost (an athiest), but now I am found! Praise God!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
      • serdich

        and I though god is all good and died for our since so we all go heaven but I guess im wrong..god will send you to burn in hell till eternity and he will love you....

        December 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
      • Pastafarian

        lmfao. I think I blacked out when I saw the words "bible" and "scientific" in the same sentence.

        December 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  76. JoeShmoeTheFirst

    ... And the humans get ready to "leave on their jet planes" and go defecate on a cleaner spot. The creatures of that planet hopefully are more evolved or they are screwed... :-S

    December 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  77. streetheat1

    Hey I want to go there for vacation this year! Let's see. It takes approximately 81,000 years to travel 4 light years and this planet is 600 light years away, so that means it would take about...........Never mind I guess I will go to Niagara Falls.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  78. Kc

    Water haha right if you fools trust CNN or the idiots that wrote the article then your even more foolish than I thought.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      You're right. What do scientists know? They only use repeatable, measurable, empirical data to form their theories and not some stupid book written thousands of years ago by people that didn't know $h|+.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
      • queenbee10

        A scientific saying is that "only a fool dissects , analyzes or diagnoses over a phone" Same can be said for postulating points with fake measurements for something that is so far away, nothing can be proven or even really measured or even seen. The worst kind of science–the kind that has just enough info to appear valid and scientific but has just enough inaccessibility to NEVER be proven for the people reviewing it. They have instruments to measure something 600 light years away and can tell what is on a planet surface? All that technology and they cannot even tell if a tumour is benign or malignant until they go in and remove or biopsy it. And for that, the patient is only a few inches away......AMAZING.

        December 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
      • Pastafarian

        QB: you seem like a very angry and somewhat jaded and miserable person. Why are you so pessimistic about the value of science and research? Things learned in the field of astronomy may very well lead to innovations in oncology. It's called serendipity. The discoveries within different bodies of science do not take place in a vacuum, nor are they mutually exclusive.

        December 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • CHAD J

      Facts, science, and such are just nonsense to the right side of this country. Don't bother them about those sorts of distractions.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  79. Aaron

    Can we send all the Occupy protestors here?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  80. Jehováh

    Fold the space as many times as possible as to get there in a 4 hours trip.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  81. DarkAkimora

    ok, what does this have to do with this awesome discovery?? Sigh, anyway i find this awesome and can't wait when we can visit. **Probably be close to 100 when that will happen 😛

    December 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  82. Sharky

    FINALLY! Begin the terraforming. I am ready to get off this smelly polluted rock as soon as possible!

    December 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      You can bet that if we ever got there, it would instantaneously be turned into a similarly smelly and polluted planet (thanks to greedy industrialists, the limits of our technology, etc.)

      December 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  83. Willy

    600 light years for a drink of water? I wonder how far it is to the bathroom.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • serdich

      don quit your daily job..

      December 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
      • Pastafarian

        lol. I think he gets credit for that one 🙂

        December 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  84. EdR

    So as others have mentioned.. traveling at roughly 25,000 mph given current technology, we could potentially get there is a little as 16,500,000 years. How many times are you going to hear "are we there yet" on that trip?

    If we ever hope to get beyond our solar system we need to figure out how to control time and space so that distance and speed become irrelevant.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Jehováh

      fold space as many time as to get there in 4 hours lasting trip.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • HorseCentz

      I'm all for the taking the shortcut. If we just turn left instead of right at the moon we can be there in twenty minutes.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  85. Jake

    Cylons already have the planet.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  86. EdR

    Shouldn't this story be in the travel section?

    December 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • vc20

      Not yet....its still under imaginary renovation....LOL Plus the ticket is gonna run about 9 zillion dollars.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  87. Criptic

    See above headline: How do you CONFIRM something with the word COULD in the sentence. They are cofirming that this planet does or does not have water. Just weird.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  88. serana

    Even if life were capable of existing somewhere, a one in a gadzillion chance, it would perish very quickly because it would not have the intelligence to reproduce. to have two life forms (one on earth and one elsewhere) with the same intelligence to reproduce (along with all the matching equipment that comes along with it) would be another gadzillion times removed.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Savatage

      FOR SALE " Planet Earth.

      Good location.
      Nice fixer – upper.
      Infected with pests.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  89. vc20

    There is a reason earth is the most inhabitable planet in the Solar system. We have had no visitors, because we have no neighbors. there is just God, the son, and the holy spirit that look at us from up high. What neighbors do you know that do not travel to other places?

    December 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • vc20

      habitable not inhabitable.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • serana

      There is just God – and creation. like angels.
      [3:18] GOD bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, He is the absolute god; there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.

      Trinity was voted upon by a slim majority of bishops at the conference of Nicene, 2 centuries after Jesus.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • vc20

        You ever heard of the new testament?

        December 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • Savatage

        **** GOD bears witness that there is no god except He ***

        Yup, and i should worhsip something this arrogant.
        Man created god, and has been manipulating him ever since.

        December 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Savatage

      We have neighbors.
      They took a good look at what we have done with our planet,
      and decided to keep to themselves.
      Smart.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  90. Bert Fonte

    Hurry let's build a rocket ship, move there and destroy that planet as fast as we can too!

    December 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  91. Jehováh

    Behold my glory!!, I hope my followers that I can get there first, as Frozenyo my gospel said.
    I have decided to use the latin name for god too, it will make me appear as god of two and then unlimited worlds, nice move.
    oh!, there is gonna be a charge of 10% of your income just for visiting any church or for believe in, and of course your sins will be erased from my followers only, atheist do not believe in irresponsibles.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  92. Matt

    Imagine if we didn't step into sin. Imagine if we didn't lose that connection with God. Imagine if no one died, and we got to occupy this vast space. Maybe by talking to Him, we might have learned how to travel to these places. Maybe we wouldn't call it something stupid like Keplar-22b. Maybe God has a beautiful name for it, but because we messed up we won't know what He had planned for it.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • AtheismoMachismo

      keep your fantasy delusion to yourself...

      December 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • Matt

        Fantasies are part of being human. And being social is part of being human. So why would I keep it to myself? Atheists are human right?

        December 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • AtheismoMachismo

      God who created everything created a human with a weakness for which he then punished for... then in order to help him out he kills himself... lol, surely someone had a terrible imagination...

      December 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • vc20

        Man your understanding of what Jesus/God did on the cross is terribly wrong.

        December 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • God

      Glar.
      The planets name is "Glar"
      You got it from the source.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  93. kidd05

    if this is real it is only in Gods way to let other life be lived.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  94. vc20

    the Keebler elves bake cookies and transport them to earth via space probes.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Keebler elves baked hash brownies.
      You ate too many.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
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