Does life exist beyond our beloved planet Earth? Well, this is a question which is yet to be answered. A new discovery in the universe’s 13.8 billion year history has raised hopes for the existence of life in the galaxy. Scientists have discovered an ancient solar system, which consists of 5 Earth sized planets. All the 5 planets are situated around a bright sun, which has been named as Kepler-444. This may lead to the possibility of finding another planet which has the capability to sustain water based life.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope was used to find this ancient solar system, which has successfully been able to identify over 4,000 candidates. Out of these, over 1,000 have been confirmed as exoplanets. The University of Birmingham led the scientific collaboration, the University of Sydney also contributed in the venture.
The newly discovered star around which the five planets orbit is located 117 light years away from the Earth. The parent star is 25% smaller than the Sun and is substantially colder. It was formed 11.2 billion years ago, which means that it is nearly two and a half years older than the Earth. The size of the 5 planets varies, with size ranging between the size of Mercury and Venus.
Although, the star is only three fourth the size of the sun, but it can burn for 30 billion years, which makes it a strong candidate for supporting life if compared to Earth's sun, which is supposed to burn for just 10 billion years. The planets of the ancient star have overlapping orbits which circle around their star in less than 10 days.
Physicist at the University of Sydney, Daniel Huber says that it is quite extraordinary that an ancient system of planets were formed when the Universe was just one-fifth of its current age. Our solar system is only 4.5 billion years old. He also adds that this explains that planets of this size were formed for most of the history of universe and this leaves us in a much better position to understand as to when this process began.