It's a mission human beings will forever be on, proof of life beyond planet EarthKepler 22 could be the answer to the age old question, "are we alone?"  NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed a planet orbiting in the "habitable zone," similar to where our Earth circles the Sun.

The mission has found over 1000 new planet candidates, about 10 of them are Earth sized and run an orbit in the habitable zone.  All the candidate planets get follow up observation to determine whether or not they are a planet.

Kepler 22 comes in as a confirmed planet.  And it's sitting pretty with it's star just like we do. (Brevard Times)

The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don't yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets.

Previous research hinted at the existence of near-Earth-size planets in habitable zones, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Two other small planets orbiting stars smaller and cooler than our sun recently were confirmed on the very edges of the habitable zone, with orbits more closely resembling those of Venus and Mars.

"This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth's twin," said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Kepler's results continue to demonstrate the importance of NASA's science missions, which aim to answer some of the biggest questions about our place in the universe."

Kepler 22 is located around 600 light years away.  The planet is larger then Earth, has a 290 day orbit around a "sun like" star.  The star falls in the same class as our Sun does called G Type.

The Kepler team will host a conference December 5th - 9th where it will announce all the new candidate discoveries, and it looks like there's lots to talk about.

The Kepler team is hosting its inaugural science conference at Ames Dec. 5-9, announcing 1,094 new planet candidate discoveries. Since the last catalog was released in February, the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler has increased by 89 percent and now totals 2,326. Of these, 207 are approximately Earth-size, 680 are super Earth-size, 1,181 are Neptune-size, 203 are Jupiter-size and 55 are larger than Jupiter.

Just seeing all the potential planets this mission has found in such a short time, I think we are going to have proof of life beyond Earth within the next 10 years.  I mean is it really so crazy to believe life exists beyond Earth?  With all the stars and planets, it's crazy and in my opinion, almost arrogant, to think we are alone in this huge universe.

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