The scientific potential may be as vast as the surface of a planet recently confirmed discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
HD 219134b is a rocky exoplanet 1.6 times larger than Earth situated just outside our solar system—21 light-years away.
Lars A. Buchhave, co-author of a study on the planet, described the importance of such proximity: "Most of the known planets are hundreds of light-years away. This one is practically a next-door neighbor."
See photos of the exoplanet:
As the closest exoplanet capable of being detected crossing in front of its own star, it's the perfect candidate for research.
Michael Werner, the project scientist for the Spitzer mission said, "Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold...This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come."
SEE ALSO: Check out images from NASA's Kepler space telescope: