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Slew of New Exoplanets Found

NASA has provided an update on the Kepler Space Telescope's search for exoplanets and the total number of new worlds discovered is staggering.

The space agency announced that, since their last briefing on the landmark device, Kepler has found an astounding 219 potential new planets, including a tantalizing ten which could harbor life.

These ten alien worlds, NASA says, are all planets thought to be around the size of the Earth and also reside in an orbit, known as the Goldilocks zone, that is believed to be the ideal spot for water, and thus life, to exist.

Taking into account Monday's Kepler update, the telescope has now spotted a jaw-dropping 4,034 exoplanet candidates, of which more than half have been confirmed.

Additionally, the ten new Earth-like worlds in the Goldilocks zone puts the total number of such exoplanets to be discovered at a whopping 50 with 30 of them confirmed.

Researchers working with the Kepler data marveled that the considerable number of exoplanet discoveries has provided them with a tremendous understanding of how planets form.

It's also allowed them the ability to correctly anticipate what type of exoplanet they may find orbiting stars of different sizes.

With a new exoplanet-hunting mission from the space agency set to launch in 2018, there's no doubt that the number of new discoveries will surely skyrocket in the years ahead.

Whether the search ultimately results in finding an elusive world that harbors intelligent ET life remains to be seen, we're keeping out fingers crossed.

Source: Space.com

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