Nasa schedules press conference as it announces breakthrough in mission to find Earth-like planets

Nasa’s Kepler has been searching for Earth-like planets

Nasa will be holding a press conference to reveal a major breakthrough from its planet-finding telescope, it has announced.

The Kepler space telescope is tasked with finding other planets — some of which exists in a ‘habitable zone’, meaning they could support life.

The press conference, which will be live-streamed on its agency’s website, will take place on Thursday (December 14).

Nasa has said little else about its latest discovery, although added it was made with the help of Google artificial intelligence.

It is thought the announcement will revolve around exoplanets – Earth-sized planets that orbit around their own stars.

These are considered the best hope of finding alien life.

Nasa said that four engineers and scientists would take part in the press conference, including Paul Hertz, who leads Nasa’s astrophysics division, a senior Google software engineer, and two scientists.

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Nasa launched the Kepler telescope, named after a 17th century German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, in 2009.

It is designed to survey a portion of the Milky Way to discover these Earth-size exoplanets.

It concluded its original mission in 2012 after finding a total of 2,337 exoplanets and 4,496 more ‘candidates’ in 30 habitable zones.

In 2014, Kepler began a new exoplanet-hunting mission, K2, which has confirmed the existence of 178 exoplanets to date..

K2 is also “introducing new research opportunities to study young stars, supernovae and other cosmic phenomena.”

In February, Nasa said it had found the “holy grail” – an entire solar system that could support life.

 

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