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NASA announces discovery of 715 new worlds

NASA's Kepler Pulls In 'Mother Lode' Of 715 New Planets

Call it the $600 million gift that just keeps giving. NASA announced Wednesday the crippled Kepler Space Telescope put in some serious work, making the largest exoplanetary discovery ever.

The space agency said the Kepler team discovered 715 new planets orbiting stars other than our very own sun. Ninety-five percent of the planets are smaller than Neptune and just four orbit in their sun's "Goldilocks Zone." (Via NASA SaveFrom.net)

A statement posted to NASA's website read, "This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system."

NASA scientists said Kepler left them with an "oceanful" of homework when it ceased regular operations last year. According to Space.com, the newly-discovered planets came just from Kepler's first half of its time on the job, so there could soon be another massive haul of planets.

Ars Technica reports the exoplanet discoveries went from a trickle to a flood not because of Kepler's no-quit attitude, but because of a new technique.

The research team calls the technique verification through multiplicity. Before, Kepler observed planetary candidates orbiting stars. Those candidates would later be confirmed as planets after thorough follow-up observations.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "The new method ... relies on the idea that planets seem to cluster in systems with other planets, rather like our own."

One NASA researcher compared that to observing lions and lionesses in an intergalactic savannah. If two or more lionesses (or planet candidates) are spotted together, they can be reliably identified as being with the same lion (or parent star). (Via BBC SaveFrom.net)

NASA launched SaveFrom.net Kepler in 2009 with the mission of finding planets much like our own. Although Kepler has made good on that promise, researchers hope the telescope will continue searching for celestial objects.

Kepler has helped discover 961 exoplanets to date. The studies detailing the discovery of the hundreds of new worlds will be published in The Astrophysical Journal March 10.

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omaravila559 February 28 2014 at 2:24 AM

I'LL SAY, OUR FOREMOST INTELLIGENT "PERSONAL" WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE TO IT'S "PEOPLE" THAT "THEY" JUST "DISCOVERED" SO AND SO NUMBER OF NEW "EARTH LIKE" PLANETS, AT A TIME WHEN A HUMAN BEING OF AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE ALREADY KNOWS THIS IS A FACT, AND DIDN'T HAVE TO SPEND 600 BILLION GAZILLION POUNDS OR EUROS WHATEVER IT MAY BE, TO ANNOUNCE IT TO THE REST OF US. NASA SHOULD PUT ITS PROJECTS ON HOLD AND ALLOW THE REST OF THE COUNTRY TO REACH ITS NEXT DECADE ON A BETTER NOTE' , LIKE MAYBE FREE EDUCATION , ENERGY, HEALTH. AN AVERAGE PERSON WORKS NO LONGER FOR HIMSELF AND FAMILY BUT FOR PROJECTS FOR NASA AND COMPANY. HEY PEOPLE OF THIS PLANET THE UNIVERSE IS HOME TO COUNTLESS NUMBERS OF PLANETS WITH LIFE JUST LIKE EARTH. NASA ITS THE 21ST CENTURY ACT LIKE IT, YOUR HOLDING THE ECONOMY BACK, MOM AND DAD NEED A VACATION AND I DONT MEAN TO GRAMMA'S HOUSE.

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tptvox February 28 2014 at 1:08 PM

I understand your frustration, but I think it might be misplaced. NASA isn't the one who is getting so much money....Look at our military industrial complex. They spend more than 10 countries can spend on wasteful, outdated war machinery. At least NASA, through science and engineering comes up with things the astronauts use, that later we use.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nasa-inventions.htm

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rss0246 February 28 2014 at 4:08 PM

For forty years, the entire NASA annual budget of about $18 billion -- covering the entire shuttle program, all the unmanned launches like Keppler, Cassini, Mars rovers (etc.), the aeronautics work at Langley which is changing the American civilian aviation industry, and funding all of the agency's dozen working centers around the country -- was being swallowed up EVERY EIGHT DAYS at the Pentagon. That's right: $18 billion every eight days! People who come on here to gripe about NASA causing the national debt, holding the economy back or otherwise being a waste of money need to wake up, smell the roses and get a grip.

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rdcabe February 28 2014 at 1:42 AM

People say they have faith in GOD. But do they really. There works show not to be be true in beleaving in GOD and his written word. They fear death, search the vast univerves,an act as if they are GODS.. GODS word describes his plan and history of the universe about the angels and the up rising of lucifer, plan as day and was written over 3.500 years ago. Why did he destroy the tower of babel and confuse the languages? Its beautiful to have eyes to see GOD . And how foolish we humans are. And all it takes is child like faith. To lean not to your own understanding.

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EzinWy February 28 2014 at 12:46 AM

Love the cosmos, but why did Earth / Earthlings get short-changed in knowledge about space travel capability ? It's time to find out the truth. Share and sign the petition at http://wh.gov/lRAl9

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EzinWy February 28 2014 at 12:27 AM

Bottomline, the more we think we know the cosmos, the little we really do. Remember, the cosmos is infinite in any direction you look - it just doesn't end !

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sequestereddems February 28 2014 at 12:06 AM

We need to ship off about half of earth to these planets.

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Ed February 27 2014 at 11:58 PM

Miranda was right! A Brave New World awaits us if we are smart enough to use the tools at hand. Things are becoming wonderful.

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jcreitz23 February 28 2014 at 12:04 AM

Indeed.

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GoldLions February 27 2014 at 11:48 PM

Hopefully some can be habitable for Earth Life.

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jjaycedar February 27 2014 at 11:43 PM

Finally a use for that battle star, start loading it up with hair dressers and telephone linemen now, lets go and destroy another planet.

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somewhatamazed February 27 2014 at 11:26 PM

With all the planets that they are able to spot and identify, and the vastness of the universe, I think it is truly naive to think that Earth is the only planet sustaining life.

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Btinman82 February 27 2014 at 10:23 PM

Too much for the religious to bear. To think that they might NOT be the chosen ones. Same reason they try to debunk evolution.......because the bible says it isn't so.

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