What is Kepler-442b?


By: Hamza Naeem , Journalist

What is Kepler-442b?

Kepler-442b is a super Earth exoplanet that orbits a K-type star. Its mass is 2.36 Earth’s, it takes 112.3 days to complete one orbit of its star. The planet was discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft using the transit method, which measures the dimming effect that a planet causes as it crosses in front of its star. NASA announced the confirmation of the exoplanet on 6 January 2015.

Could Kepler-442b Support Life?

Kepler-442b has a 97% chance of being in a habitable zone. A team of astronomers recently discovered eight new exoplanets that orbit their stars at a distance that would allow them to have liquid water on their surface, according to National Geographic magazine, opening up the possibility that some of them could be within the “Goldilocks zone” that would permit life to exist. Going by those criteria, the Earth is assigned a habitable rating 0f 0.829 – slightly lower than that of Kepler-22b, a recently-discovered planet about 1,100 light years away, which is rated 0.836. A calculator is being made available to exoplanet researchers via a web form on the Virtual Planetary Laboratory site. This tool will allow researchers around the world to enter data and get a habitability figure on Kepler’s object of interest.