Science Art: Soaking Up the Rays of a Sun-Like Star, by NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, 2015.

452b_artistconcept_beautyshotClick to embiggen

This is an artist’s impression of a planet just discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission that’s gotten the folks at SETI all excited.

It’s the most Earth-like planet yet discovered. Kepler 452b sits in the “Goldilocks” zone around its star, not too hot and not too cold, and is about the same size (or is a little larger) and made of something like the same stuff as the planet we’re sitting around on right now. It takes 365 days to orbit around its sun, too. NASA’s calling it our “bigger, older cousin”.

There are a couple of other, smaller and more Earth-like, planets in the new Kepler findings, too. No one’s saying there’s water on any of them, or little aliens hanging out at the beach. But there’s no reason why there wouldn’t be, either.

[via Mr. Finfrock]