Data from the Kepler telescope has revealed that there are 20 planets "hiding in plain sight' which are orbiting a sun, and there is a high possibility of them being habitable. Among them, there is a planet much like Earth which takes 395 days to complete one revolution around its star. The planet is believed to have a climate like that of the Arctic Tundra on Earth.
The discovery of a list of potentially habitable planets has caused great excitement among space buffs. Each planet is said to have different length of orbit, with one taking 18 days to go round its star and another taking 395 days.
According to Jeff Coughlin, the leader of the Kepler team that analysed the data, the exoplanet with a 395-day year holds the greatest possibility of sustaining life. It is said to be almost like the Earth in every way, apart from having a colder temperature throughout. However, it is still warm enough to have liquid water, thus opening up the possibility of holding life.
"If you had to choose one to send a spacecraft to, it's not a bad option," told Coughlin to New Scientist. The newly-discovered planets will now be observed further by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Earlier this year also, the Kepler telescope had detected 219 new exoplanets, of which 10 could be habitable. NASA's Ames Research Center has stated that there are about 4,034 planets in our galaxy that are worthy to be observed.
The hunt for new worlds has been of fascination to mankind for ages with several expeditions undertaken to discover alien life and prove that we are not alone in the universe. The Kepler telescope had been working for this mission since 2009, before it was destroyed due to technical failure in 2013. Now, a second Kepler telescope is continuing the work and is expected to do so until 2018.
Thousands of suitable planets have been spotted through its data. Scientists are now awaiting the discovery of terrestrial planets that are slightly bigger than Earth and have favourable conditions for the presence of life.
In addition to finding alien life, human beings are also striving to colonise other planets in our solar system. Elon Musk and his company SpaceX are in high hopes to send humans to Mars. Musk has stated that he plans to establish a human colony on Mars by the year 2024.