On Thursday, July 23,2015 NASA announced they found a planet remarkably similar to Earth orbiting a distant sun-like star in the constellation Cygnus about 1400 light years away. It was discovered by astronomers using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. The planet is dubbed Kepler-452b. The article by Reuters titled, “New Planet ‘closest thing’ to Earth” appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Friday, July 24, 2015.
The planet Kepler-452b orbits a star that is about 6 billion years old, compared to the 4.6 billion year age of the sun according to evolutionary scientists. Kepler-452b is about 60 percent bigger than Earth. The star it circles is similar in size and temperature to our sun. Astronomer Jon Jenkins with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said, ” In my mind this is the closest thing we have to another planet like Earth. It ‘s simply awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star.”
Astronomers have found Earth sized planets orbiting stars’ habitable zones but these stars are cooler and smaller than our sun, a G2 type yellow star. Kelpler-452b is positioned about as far as Earth is to our sun, but completing an orbit around its sun in 385 days compared to 365 days for Earth to go around our sun.
Jeff Coughlin with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California said, “This is great progress in finding a planet like Earth that is similar in size and temperature around a sun-like star.”
The reason NASA launched the Kepler Telescope in 2009 was to survey a sampling of nearby stars in an attempt to learn whether planets like Earth were common in the galaxy.
Kepler-452b at 1,400 light years away is too far away to actually see the planets details. Scientists would not comment because they do not know whether it has oceans and continents like Earth.
But according to the Bible there is only one Earth and it is unique since the time it was created by God in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth“. Earth we live on was made inhabitable by God for us (Isaiah 45:18). Our Earth has suitable oxygen, water, and an atmosphere to sustain biological life from the hazards of space. Kepler-452b is 60 percent bigger than our Earth which means the gravity would make us 60 percent heavier than we are here on Earth. The scientists do not even know if there is water and oxygen on Kepler-452b, it could be as dead as Mars or Venus in our solar system. Even if we were able to leave today on a spacecraft that could travel the speed of light it still would take us 1,400 years to reach this planet. By time we reached this planet there would be over 14 generations of people who lived and died before reaching Kepler 452b. We need to think about our home in the vastness of space because it is a “one of a kind Earth” and there is no other place in this universe like it. Amen!