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The discovery of Kepler-22b, a planet ideal for supporting life

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Hour 2

Illustration of Kepler-22b (image courtesy of NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

On Tuesday, NASA scientists announced the discovery of a new planet outside our solar system –Kepler-22b.  What is important about this find is how similar the planet is to Earth — not too hot and not too cold — making it ideal for supporting life.  Kepler-22b lives in what scientists have defined as the habitable or Goldilocks zone where surface water doesn’t freeze or boil, just like water on earth.  It shares other characteristics including a star that is similar to our sun and which circles Kepler-22b at almost the same distance as our earth circles the sun.  Kepler-22b is the most recent discovery by the Kepler telescope which was launched by NASA in 2009 as part of its mission to find other planets.   Joining us to talk about the significance of all this is science writer MICHAEL LEMONICK and Penn State geoscientist JAMES KASTING author of How to Find a Habitable Planet.

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[audio: 120711_110630.mp3]

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