Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Home Away from Home (Maybe)

(My blogger friend, Kaye Manro, beat me to the punch and has a great post about this up at her blog HERE.)

We've found an Earth-like planet...okay, "we" haven't found anything. Technically, NASA's Kepler mission team found it. (Does being a NASA cheerleader/supporter/groupie count as part of the overall NASA team? Yes/No?)

In what I call the Obvious Statement of the Year, Geoff Marcy of UC Berkeley stated, "This discovery shows that we Homo sapiens are straining our reach into the universe to find planets that remind us of home. We are almost there."

I guess I shouldn't take the statement for granted, though. Truthfully, I'm not sure how much the general population is wondering or straining to find other homes like Earth. It's the geekdom population that is cheering on the scientists. But I'd like to think that 4 geek-groupies equates to 1 normal person, so maybe it equals out somehow. (LOL. That right there, folks, is AR math...Live it. Learn it.)

Say hello to Kepler-22B. (Top right image.) Can I just say, these NASA folks need to get creative with their planet naming... it's like an apartment building. Geez.

"That's correct. I live in Kepler-22B, right next door to 22A. Yeah, the one right across from 7-11 and the Chinese restaurant. Hang a left at Alpha Centauri... no, no. A LEFT."

Okay, okay. Focus. Let's learn a little about this new planet find, Kepler-22B... or as I'd like to call it, Planet Awesome.

Kepler-22B aka "Planet Awesome":
  • Is located in the Kepler-22 Star System

  • It's 600 light years away (or 3,540 trillion miles)

  • It circles the star (Sun like star may I add) at about the same distance as Earth to the Sun

  • Its year is 290 days

  • Probably has water and rock, but probably mostly ocean

  • It's 2 and a half times bigger than Earth

  • Average temperature about 72 degrees (most likely, if it doesn't turn out to be a gas planet)
Keppler-22B makes a tally count of 2,326 planet candidates. Hee hee, you like that term the NASA team has designated for potentials? It's like a political race or something... better yet, a planetary race. Which will be the first one we decide to visit? You think there'll be a poll or official vote by the general public? (Wouldn't that be groovy?)

Any-who, of these, 207 are approximately Earth-size, 680 are super Earth-size, 1,181 are Neptune-size, 203 are Jupiter-size and 55 are larger than Jupiter.

Source material:




  1. Fantastic detailed post, AR! I may have beat you by posting this info first but your post has got a lot more to it. Great!

  2. Amber, too cool. I really enjoyed your post because it brought the discovery of Kepler 22B into perspective for us folks. I'm going to show my 9 year old son Andrew. He's into space and this is a post he'll totally understand.

    Thanks for sharing with us. I agree - you'd think the science community could come up with a cooler name than Kepler 22B, huh?

    I kind of like "Pluto" myself. *wink*

  3. LOL Kaye. You have the thought-provoking question though, which triggers great conversations. I didn't realize it (fully) but I basically did a profile... as if Kepler 22B was a tv in a sales showroom.

    @ Steph - Thanks! Make sure to hit the NASA link. They have some great images and information about the mission.

    Hmm... I must say, "Pluto" does have a nice ring to it. I have a distinct feeling there is another planet by -- oh, nevermind, their bad.

  4. When I first read about this on Space.com, I just about jumped out of my seat. This is so exciting and I look forward to the Keplar mission finding more. Now that SETI is up and running again, and aiming their efforts at the earth-like planets the Keplar mission finds, it's even more exciting. :)