The Kepler Mission was brought about with the aim of finding more planets in our universe around the same size as Earth where water could exist in a liquid form on their surface.
Last week NASA revealed that they'd managed to find 54 candidates in the hospitable zone...54!
"Some candidates could even have moons with liquid water," said William Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, and the Kepler Mission’s science principal investigator. "Five of the planetary candidates are both near Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their parent stars."
Stunning impression by: NASA/Tim Pyle
"We have found over twelve hundred candidate planets - that’s more than all the people have found so far in history," said Borucki. "Now, these are candidates, but most of them, I’m convinced, will be confirmed as planets in the coming months and years."
The findings increase the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler to-date to 1,235. Of these, 68 are approximately Earth-size; 288 are super-Earth-size; 662 are Neptune-size; 165 are the size of Jupiter and 19 are larger than Jupiter.
This is exciting discoveries all around - if you're interested in this follow the Kepler Mission - it's pegged to keep researching and searching until November 2012...