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NASA Finds 461 Alien Planet Candidates, Some Possibly Habitable


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NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has detected 461 new potential alien planets, including four worlds slightly larger than Earth that may be capable of supporting life as we know it.

The 461 newfound candidate exoplanets, which were announced today (Jan. 7), bring Kepler's total haul in its first 22 months of operation to 2,740 alien worlds. Only 105 have been confirmed to date, but scientists say 90 percent or so should end up being the real deal.

Four of the new candidates are "super-Earths" — planets 1.25 to 2 times as big as our own — that orbit in their stars' habitable zones, a range of distances where liquid water is possible on a world's surface. One of those four is just 1.5 times the size of Earth and circles a sun-like star, researchers said.

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