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NASA astronomer discovers possible new Earth orbiting a red dwarf star

Kepler Space Telescope
Kepler Space Telescope

According to a March 24, 2014 story in Gizmodo, the first nearly Earth-sized planet has been found orbiting in the habitable zone of another star. The announcement was made by at the Search for Life Beyond the Solar System conference

The discovery was made by NASA's Ames Research Center astronomer Thomas Barclay using data derived by the Kepler Space Telescope. Details are as yet sketchy. All we know is that the star is an M1 class red dwarf, the planet is 1.1 times the size of Earth, that it is orbiting its star just far enough to sustain liquid waterm, and that it is the outermost planet of a star system that contains at least five planets.

Both the fact that the new planet is about the size of Earth and is in the habitable zone is of vast importance. The new planet may well contain life as a result of both factors.