NASA’s Kepler extrasolar-planet finder has discovered its first Earth-sized planet orbiting a distant star, but don’t crank up the interstellar spacecraft yet. While its composition is rocky like Earth’s, its 8.5-hr. orbit means it is far too warm to lie in the “Goldilocks zone.” That is the name scientists give to the habitable zone around stars, where the temperature is “just right” to sustain water in its liquid state, and perhaps life that would need liquid water to survive. ...


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