Scientists believe the discovery of five Earth-sized planets around a distant star in the Milky Way galaxy increases the possibility of finding another rocky planet where water and life exist.
While the rocky, Earth-sized planets are too close to their sun and too hot for life, they could be more ubiquitous than previously believed because of the fact that they were formed billions of years ago, the time when the galaxy was still in its infancy.
Scientists found planets in the distant solar system with sizes that range between Mercury and Venus. They analysed gathered data by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which already confirmed 1,013 true planets from more than 4,000 identified planetary candidates.
The five exoplanets orbit around the star named as Kepler-444, which is 25 percent smaller than the Sun. Found 117 light years away in the constellation Cygnus and Lyra, Kepler-444 formed 11.2 billion years ago, less than twenty percent of the age of the galaxy and far before the formation of the Sun.
It means that this solar system is the oldest group of terrestrial-sized planets ever discovered in the Milky Way, around 2.5 times older than the Earth, according to the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Tiago Campante of the University of Birmingham stated that the discovery of ancient Earth-sized planets, which formed throughout the Universe, could provide scope of ancient life’s existence.
Dr Campanete said the planets in this system were already older than today’s Earth by the time the latter formed. So, the discovery can help nail the start of what scientists might call the ear of planet formation, explained Dr Campanete.