I live for stuff like this:
And just like that -- just for a moment -- I'm seven years old again, and The Future is a wondrous place I can hardly wait to visit.Scientists find an ‘Earth twin,’ or maybe a cousinIt is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced Thursday.The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth. Its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.“Kepler 186f is the first validated, Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star,” Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., said at a news conference Thursday. “It has the right size and is at the right distance to have properties similar to our home planet.”Quintana is the lead author of a scientific paper describing the findings in this week’s issue of the journal Science. Kepler 186f is the latest planet to be sifted out of the voluminous data collected by Kepler, which kept watch over 150,000 stars, looking for slight drops in brightness when a planet passed in front.This follows the announcement last year that another star, Kepler 62, has two planets in its habitable zone, but those two were “super Earths,” with masses probably several times that of Earth. The gravity of those planets might be strong enough to pull in helium and hydrogen gases, making them more like mini-Neptunes than large Earths.With its smaller size, Kepler 186f is more likely to have an Earth-like rocky surface, another step in astronomers’ quest for what might be called Earth 2.0.“It’s a progression,” said another member of the discovery team, Thomas S. Barclay of the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. “This planet really reminds us of Earth.”...
Our species figured this out, so go ahead and cheer. Just a little. All the banal horrors of the quotidian world will still be there when you're done, so indulge yourself.
Just for a moment.
No one's looking and you'll feel like a million.