This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012.
Photo courtesy of NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
Ed note: Perfect for your desktop background. Click the photo for the 8000x8000 image
Source: Flickr / gsfc
The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, orbits smack in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our own.
Previous research had hinted at the existence of such Earth-like planets, where liquid water could exist, but this is the first time such a life-friendly alien planet has been confirmed.
The planet is about 2.4 times wider around than Earth. It’s still unknown whether Kepler-22b has a rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a milestone to finding Earth-like planets.
“This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin,” Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington said
Exoplanets are mysterious, bizarre, but ultimately exciting.
After all, with the help of the Kepler space telescope and advanced exoplanet-hunting techniques, for the first time we’re directly observing a veritable menagerie of alien worlds. Through exoplanetary studies, we’re beginning to even understand our place in the Universe.
Despite all this fascination however, many of these alien worlds seem downright scary.
Phantom worlds are on the prowl; ghosts dance in exoplanets’ atmospheres; entire worlds are even getting ripped apart!
Here’s a look at the top 10 of the scariest alien worlds likely to frighten even Captain Jean-Luc Picard back into his shuttlecraft.
Liquid water on the surface of Mars! NASA has just announced news that it has observed the phenomenon shown above. These dark surface flows in the Southern hemispheres seem to be a volatile substance, and the leading hypothesis is that it is heavily salty liquid water. [full video] [NASA TV] [more]
adventure is out there!