NASA says it will hold a press conference on Tuesday to announce the latest discoveries of its Kepler spacecraft, an observatory launched into orbit in March 2009. The announcement will be based exclusively on the discoveries of the Kepler mission.
The announcement follows discovery earlier this month of the first potentially habitable alien planet located about 600 light-years from Earth. According to Digital Journal, NASA scientists say the planet orbits its star in the habitable zone where conditions are right for liquid water to exist on the planet and therefore, possibly life. The discovery of the planet Kepler-22b was announced on December 5.
IB Times reports that at the press conference on Tuesday, NASA will give official details about the newly discovered planet Kepler-22b. NASA will also be giving details about other newly discovered planets in habitable zones.
William Borucki, principal investigator with the Kepler mission, said they have found about 50 possible planets in the habitable zone since the 2009 Kepler launch. The Kepler mission has found about 2,326 bodies that are potentially planets in the first 16 months of operation and 28 of them have been confirmed as planets.
The total number of planets confirmed so far by Kepler mission and other planet search missions is more the 700.
NASA reports that Tuesday's press conference will begin at 1 p.m. EST. There will be a webcast of the press conference on NASA's website. Speakers will include: Nick Gautier, Kepler project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; Francois Fressin, the lead scientist on the new discovery, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.; David Charbonneau, professor of astronomy at Harvard University; Linda Elkins-Tanton, director of the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington.