New planet discovery excites scientists: the discovery of a new planet 600 light years away with roughly the right temperature for plant and animal habitation is causing a buzz in the science community. Though much larger than Earth, scientists haven't ruled out the possibility of life being discovered.
The Kepler space telescope is designed to look for planets like Earth that could have life. But no one expected it to find 54 planet-candidates at Goldilocks distances from their stars – not too warm or cold for life as we know it – in its first four months of operation.
Gliese 581g could be scanned for radio emissions. And its atmosphere could be observed for signs of chemicals produced by manufacturing.
Alien planet hunt: Scanning for habitable worlds outside our solar system, NASA's Kepler mission has already spotted hundreds of candidates.
NASA's Kepler space telescope is just beginning its three-year mission to find Earth-like planets in habitable zones around stars. The first new planets it has found, announced Monday, include two so hot they would melt iron.
The US will launch the Kepler spacecraft Friday to look for other Earths.