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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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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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God Bless You February 27 2014 at 2:46 PM

Science fictions novels might become a reality in the future, although, I truly believe that the homo sapiens will be the animals and the animals the ones that reason and dominate us...

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Angela February 27 2014 at 2:39 PM

As a "Baby Boomer" who devoured science fiction as an adolescent with their view of exotic worlds, it is inspiring that those stories may one day be true.
""Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp--or what's a heaven for?"
- Robert Browning "

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wolf8381 February 27 2014 at 2:36 PM

Whoever says we're the only life is arrogant. How do you KNOW there isn't any life out there? No one knows this for certain. We cannot be the only life in the universe i'm sorry I think thats really awesome that they found more planets!

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1 reply
mplemrem wolf8381 February 27 2014 at 3:19 PM

Don't be sorry

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tradebiz99 February 27 2014 at 1:51 PM

It truly is amazing for anyone to claim we "or life" are alone in ANY way... NASA's recent statement estimating that there are several BILLION planets within the "sweet spot" zone of life is JUST IN OUR GALAXY!!!!
So if even 1 % of those 10-20 billion planets have life, and then only 1% of them is intelligent life... Your still at MILLIONS of planets in OUR galaxy with intelligent life!!!

NOW..... Here's where it gets even BETTER!!!
There are several HUNDRED, BILLION Galaxies!!!

But alas.... the distances are truly SO VAST, that even at the speed of light, it would take Hundreds of Thousands of Years to reach even a portion of these planets!!!

SO, we need to take away government restrictions on Space Travel and tech and focus on "locking down" our solar system... We have well over 100 worlds "planets and moons, etc..." in our own little system to spread out and thrive!!!
And just like Commerce and the chase of freedom spread life around our globe throughout history.... so it will again with space as restrictions are lifted!!!

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sal February 27 2014 at 1:41 PM

NASA knows there is life on other planets but refuses to disclose this information to the world

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2 replies
smoothski sal February 27 2014 at 1:58 PM

Hi Sal,
Would you care to elaborate as to how NASA "knows" this?

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companyoflosers sal February 27 2014 at 3:18 PM

well on neptune there is ices beneath its gas clouds and under the ice are small eel-like creatures. this was discovered and released publicly years ago.

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kimuyu1 February 27 2014 at 1:28 PM

Today is my birthday feb 27

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
Robert kimuyu1 February 27 2014 at 2:22 PM

Happy Birthday

Flag Reply +1 rate up
PowellTreeCare kimuyu1 February 27 2014 at 5:50 PM

Happy Birthday, kim!

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jrftsc February 27 2014 at 1:06 PM

The chimpanzee is clearly the most intelligent commentor below-the only thing of any significance that can be derived from these comments.

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1 reply
Karen jrftsc February 27 2014 at 2:23 PM

What else would you expect from a site that is not about the President, homosexuality, or global warmth. When a site doesn't excite hatred, all that is left is syfy jokes or silence. At least, it is better than the usual hate.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Marc February 27 2014 at 12:50 PM

You Earthlings better knock it off!
If you ever discover my home planet I have instructions to trigger the Yellowstone Super Volcano before returning home.
I can't tell you how much it would hurt me to have to destroy the only place I know of (at least in this galaxy) where I can get decent Chinese food.

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rlsmith337 February 27 2014 at 12:47 PM

just a thought--the lord made our eye sight not to see spirit things--so who is to say there is not life on those planets and our eye sight is not able to see--

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1 reply
steviegaryson rlsmith337 February 27 2014 at 12:58 PM

Lord Vader?

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