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1. NASA announced Thursday it has discovered a planet that is a “bigger, older cousin” to our planet, which they called a big step toward finding “Earth 2.0”
2. The planet, called “Kepler-452b,” was found during NASA’s Kepler mission. Scientists say the planet is unique because it is the smallest planet found so far that is both in the so-called habitable zone and orbits around a sun that is similar to our own. In simpler terms, Kepler-452b and its sun more closely resemble our planet and sun than any other planet NASA has found.
3. Kepler-452b is 60% bigger than our planet, and has a slightly longer, 385-day orbit around its sun. It is also older than Earth by about 1.5 billion years. Scientists say they consider the planet to be Earth’s “older, bigger cousin.” “It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth,” NASA’s Jon Jenkins said. “That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.”
4. But if there is another species living on the planet, it will take us a while to reach them. Kepler-452b is 1,400 light-years away from Earth.