Finding Another Earth: How Will Scientists Confirm It Exists?
The announcement that astronomers have found a potential alien world that could be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet is raising a big question: How will scientists confirm the existence of a true alien Earth?
While NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, which discovered the newfound Earth-like planet candidate KOI 172.2, is great for finding large numbers of exoplanets, it is not our best bet for characterizing an Earth twin circling a distant star, researchers say. In order to understand what an “alien Earth” candidate really looks like, it takes a more refined approach than what Kepler can provide at the moment. So, how can scientists study the important questions that need to be answered before a planet can be deemed a true Earth twin?