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Science Earth-sized planet discovered: Is our galaxy teeming with habitable worlds?

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has detected an Earth-sized planet orbiting an M dwarf star, scientists announced Thursday. We have some 70 billion M dwarf stars in our galaxy, so this suggests a huge number of potential life-friendly planets.

By Staff writer / April 17, 2014

NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

For the first time, astronomers have confirmed the presence of an Earth-sized planet orbiting another star in its "habitable zone" – the not-too-hot, not-too-cold region where a star warms a planet just enough to allow liquid water to form lakes or oceans. The planet, known as Kepler-186f, shares its star with four similar-sized planets that are all much closer to their sun and thus are too hot for liquid water on the surface.