NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

NASA announced Thursday that its Kepler space telescope has discovered a planet with the most similarities to Earth of any that have been discovered. And at six billion years old, the new planet, Kepler-452b, has been wearing the look for much longer.

"Cousin," "twin" and "Earth 2.0" were some of the words NASA scientists used to describe the planet, due to the many similarities.

It orbits the same type of star as Earth, although it's a bit warmer due to being slightly older. It's also in the habitable zone of its star, allowing water to exist on the surface without vaporizing or freezing. The planet's size means it's likely rocky, not a gas giant like many other exoplanets Kepler has discovered. And it has a similar orbit to Earth, making a year there about 385 days long.

The artistic concept compares Earth to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger. The illustration represents one possible appearance for Kepler-452b — scientists do not know whether the planet has oceans and continents like Earth.
NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

But there are still many differences between the worlds. Kepler-452b has been around since 1.5 billion years before our sun began to shine, making it very old. It's also 60 percent larger than Earth, meaning a human walking on 452b's surface would weigh more due to the increased gravity. And while scientists estimate the planet may be rocky and exists within the habitable zone for water, they don't know if it actually has continents or water.

Advertisement

Still, Kelper-452b represents one of the best candidates to possibly contain extraterrestrial life that NASA has ever found.

At 1,400 light years away, you'd better hit the road now if you want to visit.