Do you ever just look up into the night sky and just realize how tiny you are? The universe is huge, ginormous, gargantuan, bigger than we can ever possibly imagine. We can't be the only planet with life. Well, NASA has come closer than ever to discovering life on other planets.
This past Thursday, NASA has reported a planet described as "Earth's older cousin." The Kepler spacecraft has discovered Earth's closest match yet. Similar in size, with a sun that resembles our own, Kepler-452b is located about 1,400 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cygnus.
Is there life on this planet? There might be.
The planet is located in the star's habitable zone, which means that life-sustaining liquid water is a possibility. And the odds that there is a rocky surface is "better than even," according to planetary scientists.
Kepler-452b is farther from its sun (compared to Earth and our sun), but the planet's sun is brighter, so it gets about the same amount of energy from it's star as Earth does.
It is said that the planet almost definitely has an atmosphere, but scientists have not yet discovered what it is made out of. They theorize that the atmosphere is probably thicker than Earth's, and that there would be active volcanoes.
This is sounding more and more like that "Another Earth" movie, right?
Similar to Earth's 365 day year, this planet has a 385 day year. If there are other human-like beings, they must have an extra month on their calendars.
The biggest discovery for NASA would be finding alien life. But apparently, we aren't far away from finding it. This video from CNN tells us that we could be discovering other life forms outside of Earth within the next decade:
We are extremely close to finding out if we are alone here in space, and scientists agree that it is highly possible that we are not. All that needs to be present is water. If a planet has water, there can be life.
But this doesn't mean that we will find little green creatures on these other planets.
We would expect tiny green microbes that look kind of like this:
Who knows? Maybe we will be communicating with new alien friends in the next few decades.