The agency’s Kepler spacecraft has spent the past few months searching for Earth-sized planets outside the current solar system. Mission accomplished.
NASA announced on Thursday that it has confirmed the presence of the first set of multiple planets crossing in front of one uniform star. More than 156,000 stars were analyzed in the study, leading to the uncovering of the pair of planets, which are similar in size to Saturn.
“This discovery is the first clear detection of significant changes in the intervals from one planetary transit to the next, what we call transit timing variations,” said Matthew Holman, a Kepler mission scientist, in a NASA release.
The same set of scientists have potentially spotted a third planet larger in diameter than Earth. The New York Times reports that the object was approximately 1.5 times the size of humans’ current home planet.