CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Scientists have identified a ''close cousin'' to Earth that's orbiting a sun-like star and might harbor life.
The researchers announced their discovery Thursday, based on observations from NASA's Kepler space telescope.
''It is the closest thing that we have to another place that somebody else might call home,'' said Jon Jenkins, lead data analyst from NASA's Ames Research Center in California.
This older, bigger cousin to Earth is called Kepler-452b. What makes this planet remarkable is that it orbits its star at about the same distance that Earth orbits the sun. What's more, its home star looks to be similar to our sun.
Based on what scientists know, Jenkins added, ''This is the closest thing we have to another Earth-sun twin system.''
Planet 452b takes 385 days to orbit its star, and is just a bit farther from its star than Earth is from our sun.
The planet is in a solar system 1,400 light-years from our own, located in the Constellation Cygnus, or swan.