News & AnalysisEXOPLANETS

Kepler Snags Super-Earth-Size Planet Squarely in a Habitable Zone

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 262
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6130.262

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Now, the Kepler team is reporting the discovery of what could be the Holy Grail of exoplanetology: a rocky planet enveloped by a nurturing, warming atmosphere and sporting streams, lakes, and seas. Or maybe not. Team members point out in their paper, published online this week in Science, that they don't know whether their new find, a system of five planets orbiting a star designated Kepler-62, has water, an atmosphere, or even a solid surface. Indeed, no current, planned, or perhaps even conceivable mission could show that this particular exoplanet is habitable.