More than 1000 new planets discovered by NASA

  • 12/05/2016
Steve Pointing (Paul Henry)
Steve Pointing (Paul Henry)

NASA has added almost 1300 new planets to its map of the galaxy, which more than doubles the number of 'worlds' we already know about.

Nearly half of them are rocky planets like Earth and nine of those could potentially harbour alien life.

Scientists say this is the single largest finding of planets in history.

NASA has confirmed there are 1,284 new worlds, which more than doubles the 1,041 confirmed planets outside the solar system. 

The Kepler spacecraft has been looking for Earth-like planets since 2009.

Former NASA worker and AUT Professor Steve Pointing told Paul Henry the planet Kepler 1638b is the most interesting discovery, but not the only one.

It is about 60 percent larger than Earth and slightly closer to its star. If it were in the solar system it would sit between Earth and Venus.

He says life on these planets isn't necessarily the same as life as we know on earth.

"It's really a question of whether or not it [Kepler] could harbour life per se, so almost certainly life is not going to be identical to what we see here on earth but certainly life of some form."

He says it may be simpler or more complex but these planets are likely to have atmosphere and water.

"Whatever life may or may not exist on these planets, it requires a lot of time to develop, so you need stability over eons to evolve life."