By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A scientist who is playing a major role in the discovery of exoplanets, or potentially habitable planets, is speaking at Villanova University 3 p.m. today.
William Borucki is the principal science inspector for the Kepler Space Mission. He’s speaking at the Connelly Center on the search for habitable planets in the universe. Borucki says he first approached NASA about the mission in 1992, but was turned down. He was finally approved for the mission in 2000. And the findings have been incredible.
“The fact that we’re finding over 1,500 small planets, that are sort of Earth-sized, is wonderful. Our goal now is to find some small, Earth-sized planets that are actually in the habitable zone. We’ve found a few in the habitable zone, but they’re rather large for Earth-sized planets.”
Borucki says one of the most exciting finds of the mission is Kepler 47, two planets orbiting two stars. Those two planets are possibly habitable, but more study is needed. But he says there’s other exciting news.
“There was another one, there were two planets very, very close to one other. And one of them is rocky and one of them is gas, and that’s a surprise because you’d think they would be uniform because they are so close together.”
Currently, there are over 3,000 rocky, Earth-like potential planet candidates. Before the mission began in 2000, there were only 300.