Can you see it? It's past the orbit of Pluto, spinning out of reach of our Sun's gravitational pull, far beyond our solar system.
It's called Kepler 452b, or "Earth 2.0," and we found it only 8.22989974 × 1015 miles away. Good news, Earth-dwellers, we found our planet's brother, and it's a great candidate for a possible alien home.
NASA's announcement Thursday was the latest in a string of awe-inspiring scientific news that included a historic Pluto flyby and an improved search for alien transmissions. Now, researchers have discovered what NASA calls "the closest twin to Earth," with great potential for life.CartoonDavies' latest cartoon: Those I Love NY signsCommentSubmit your letterReader essaysGet published in Newsday
Its years are 385 days long. It has twice the gravitational pull as Earth. It is 1.5 billion years older. It is possibly rocky, with many active volcanoes. It sits in what is called the "Goldilocks zone," the distance from a star at which liquid water can exist on a planet.
So will we find Keplerinians on Earth 2.0? I'd like to think that if 4.5 billion years of Earth produced humans, Kepler 452b has some cool species after 6 billion years. So before future scientists draw up plans to contact them, here's a list of questions we should send to Earth 2.0's potential inhabitants . . .
-- Do you guys have a Keplerinian Chipotle? If not, don't bother reading the rest of these questions. We'll just leave you alone. Thanks.
-- Do you guys all look the same? If not, how have you solved the problem of discrimination against other Keplerinians just based on appearance? We need help .
-- Do you have a resource on your planet that you pretend is more important than water and engage in brutal wars over?
-- Do you have Keplerdashians? Assuming that 1.5 billion extra years is enough, how did your misguided fascination with them finally end?
-- What kind of Keplerinian drugs have you criminalized?
-- Can we send you a species native to our planet called Donald Trump? He is a cuddly, orangutan-human crossbreed who loves to yell, but lovingly. We can trade this for the drugs.
-- Has Uber tried to colonize your planet yet?
-- Have you solved the hangover?
-- "Star Wars" or "Star Trek"?
-- Which unnecessary obsession did your people get over first: weapons, fast food, selfie sticks or denying climate change?
-- Can we send you a Long Island bagel? You'll love it.
From one Earth twin to another, what's your advice for keeping the inhabitants content with respecting, living and sharing with one another? We need all the help we can get.
Christopher Leelum, a student at Stony Brook University, is an intern with Newsday and amNewYork.