WOW! 20 Surprisingly Earth-like Planets That Could Support Life

Fact about Keppler 22b Earth-like planet
Are we alone in the universe? Or do similar civilizations exist on other celestial bodies in our solar system or even in other galaxies? Research has been going round the clock on to answer such questions, and to find out if any exoplanets exist that can support life. We take you on a journey to some of the most habitable Earth-like planets that have been discovered till now in the universe.
Did You Know?
Within our solar system, planet Mars is considered the only one apart from Earth that is properly present within the habitable zone, and is said to have harbored life in the past, even before Earth. These assumptions are based on several unconfirmed evidences, including various geomorphological features.
The search for life on other planets has always been of prime importance to astronomers since ancient times. In today's world, many scientists are working hard to find even a slight evidence of any living form on different celestial bodies. According to research, the chance of a planet harboring life increases if it is present in a habitable zone. This zone basically indicates the position of a planet with respect to its distance from the sun or any star in its respective solar system. The planet should be placed ideally so that it is not too far and not too near (either very cold or very hot environment, both of which are not conducive for life to evolve).

Till date, at least 20 exoplanets have been listed that might have the most potential to harbor life. Though a few of them still have to be confirmed, scientists and researchers are collecting whatever information is available, so that the theories talking about life on other bodies get substantial support. By comparing their similarity with the Earth with the help of Earth Similarity Index (ESI), these planets are categorized as potentially habitable exoplanets, and are listed under the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog. All the photographs below are artist representations, and differences as compared to the actual appearances might exist in these images.
Potentially Habitable Earth-like Exoplanets
Gliese 832 c
Gliese 832 c
The latest planet considered to a candidate for harboring life, Gliese 832 c is located in the Grus constellation, which is about 16 light years away from Earth.
It revolves around a red dwarf star called Gliese 832, and is located in its relevant habitable zone. The Earth similarity index of this planet is about 0.81, which is quite high among all exoplanets discovered so far. It also is the second closest one to Earth among all such celestial bodies. Gliese 32 has more than 5 times the mass as that of our planet, and shows similar conditions (like surface temperature and orbit path).
Gliese 667C c, Gliese 667C e, and Gliese 667C f
Gliese 667C c
Gliese 667C c
Gliese 667C e
Gliese 667C e
Gliese 667C f
Gliese 667C f
In a triple-star system located in the constellation Scorpius, Gliese 667C c is the smallest planet that was discovered to orbit the Gliese 667C star in 2009. The information was publicized in 2011, and based on several parameters, it was decided that Gliese 667C c might be inhabitable as it had traces of water. Though it is said to be near the warmer portion of its habitable zone, according to research, the sunlight intensity received is similar to that of the Earth. Other aspects like electromagnetic radiation and orbital path and velocity were also studied as a part of the ongoing research. It takes about 28 days for the planet to orbit its star. The planet 667C e is located near the edge of the habitable zone, and has less chances to support life. The third one, Gliese 667C f is located in the middle portion of the zone, and hence is said to be a prime candidate for supporting life.
Gliese 180 b and Gliese 180 c
Gliese 180 b
Gliese 180 b
Gliese 180 c
Gliese 180 c
Gliese 180 is a star system located about 39 light years away in the Eridanus constellation. The star is classified as M3, and is moving with a speed of about 50 km/s through the galaxy. The two best candidates that can probably support life in this star system are Gliese 180 b and Gliese 180 c; both of which are located in the habitable zone. More detailed information is not yet available about the degree to which these planets might harbor life.
Gliese 422 b
Gliese 422 b
This planet was discovered in 2014, and it orbits the Innes star located in the constellation Carina. The star is classified under the M 3.5 category. Gliese 422 b is about 10 times larger than Earth, and is located in the habitable zone of the Innes star, making it a possible candidate to support life.
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Gliese 163 c
Gliese 163 c
This planet orbits the red dwarf star Gliese 163 in the habitable zone, i.e., not too far and not too close from the parent star. The star system is situated in the Dorado constellation, and is about 49 light years away from our solar system. The planet has a mass approximately 7 times as that of the Earth, and hence is classified under the Super-Earth category.
Gliese 581 d and Gliese 581 g
Gliese 581 d
Gliese 581 d
Gliese 581 g
Gliese 581 g
The Gliese 581 star system is located in the Libra constellation about 22 light years away, and consist of a parent red dwarf star. Two planets called Gliese 581 d and Gliese 581 g are considered to be habitable. But, this assumption is not confirmed as most data collected about these celestial bodies is a bit controversial. Gliese 581 d is assumed to have a atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide, and has mass at least seven times more than our planet. Gliese 581 g is said to have a rocky surface, and a mass that is more than 3 times as compared to Earth. It is regarded as one of the first exoplanets to be discovered that might harbor life if certain parameters turn out to be true.
Kepler-62 e and Kepler-62 f
Kepler-62 e
Kepler-62 e
Kepler-62 f
Kepler-62 f
Both are Super-Earth exoplanets that orbit the Kepler-62 in the constellation Lyra. They were by the NASA's Kepler spacecraft, and are a part of the five planet group that orbits this star. Kepler-62 e and Kepler-62 f have Earth similarity indexes of 0.83 and 0.69, respectively. They both are present in the star's habitable planet zone, and are said to be partially terrestrial with some amount of water present at least beneath the crustal portions. They were discovered by the transit method system, wherein a celestial objects luminosity is measured as it crosses or passes in front of its star, leading a decrease in its illumination.
Kepler 22b
Kepler 22b
This exoplanet is one of the most popular ones in terms of possessing conditions that might support life. It was discovered by the Kepler Science Telescope in 2009, and was announced formally in 2011. The planet is located in the Cygnus constellation about 600 light years away from our Sun. It also was the first planet to be discovered using the transit technique (decrease in a planet's intensity as it passes or crosses in front of its parent star), and also is situated properly inside the habitable or Goldilocks zone.
Kepler 22 b Position
Kepler 22 b position
Preliminary research indicates that Kepler 22b must have an ocean-rich surface with a rocky core, and an atmosphere similar to that of Venus. The image above shows the position of Kepler 22b in its solar system with respect to the positioning of the four inner planets including Earth in our solar system. The habitable zone is marked green in color in both systems.
Kepler-298 d
Kepler-298 d
This exoplanet is located at least 12 light years away and orbits the star system Kepler-298. It was discovered as a Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) in 2014 and is said to have heavy gaseous atmosphere with its surface being mostly covered by ocean water or some other liquid. In the habitable zone of this star system, this planet is located closest to the star.
Kepler-61 b
Kepler-61 b
Orbiting the star called Kepler-61, this planet is located at the inner edge of its habitable zone. It was first studied in 2013 using the transit method (the dimming of a planet as it passes in front of its star). This Kepler Object of Interest is said to be a prime candidate that an support life, as research suggests it might have an atmosphere with high pressure and humidity, thus leading to the possibility of ocean-rich environment. Kepler-61 b is said to be at least twice the size of our planet.
Kepler-186 f
Kepler-186 f
Being almost Earth-sized, Kepler-186 f is considered as a planet having one of the highest chances of harboring life-forms. It is almost 500 light years away from Earth, and is perfectly placed in the star system's habitable zone. Its discovery was confirmed in 2014 after almost three years of extensive research. The Earth sensitivity index of this planet candidate is 0.64, and it orbits the Kepler-186 red dwarf star. If the position of this planet is compared to our solar system, then it is located more or less at a distance that corresponds to the location of Mars.
Kapteyn b
Kapteyn b
Orbiting the red dwarf Kapetyn's star, this planet is present at a distance of about 13 light years away from Earth in the Pictor constellation. Among all the celestial bodies mentioned in the Habitable Planets Catalog, Kapetyn b is said to be one of the closest to our planet. It also is extremely old as compared to the age of our solar system (according to research the age is about 11 billion years). This exoplanet was discovered by using the Doppler spectroscopy method, wherein the effects of gravity exerted by its star are studied and calculated.
Tau Ceti e
Tau Ceti e
This planet is located at least 12 light years away from Earth and orbits the star called Tau Ceti. The Earth similarity index of this exoplanet is 0.77, and it is situated near the inner edge of its habitable zone. This Super-Earth is more than 4 times in size as that of our planet and it is said to have a rocky or terrestrial lithosphere with a surface temperature of more than 50 degrees Celsius.
Tau Ceti e was discovered by using various statistical techniques, which measures the orbital velocity and orbit path length.
HD 40307 g and HD 85512 b
HD 40307 g
HD 40307 g
HD 85512 b
HD 85512 b
Located in the Pictor constellation about 40 light years away, this exoplanet orbits the HD 40307 star system, and was discovered by using the technique of measuring radial velocity. HD 85512b is located in the constellation Vela and orbits the star called Gliese 370. This Super-Earth is quite small, and is said to be a prime candidate for a celestial body that might support living beings. It was discovered in 2011 using the Doppler spectroscopy method.
Discovery of a Solar System
On February 22, 2017, NASA announced the discovery of 7 new exoplanets that are Earth-sized and orbiting a dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1 at a distance of about 40 light years from Earth. These exoplanets are rocky and temperate. They may have liquid water, which means they could sustain life. 3 of the 7 planets are in the habitable zone of the star and may have oceans on their surface. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has made the groundbreaking discovery of this alien solar system.
Apart from Mars, which is considered to be one of the most habitable planets in our solar system, Venus is also present just at the inner edge of the Habitable Zone. But, as its atmosphere consists of toxic gases like methane, the chances of this planet sustaining life are very remote.

Is there life on other planets? This is one of the most fundamental questions that has been asked over infinite generations in the history of man. Who knows! A few centuries might pass before we find out the answer to this question, or, mankind might never find any significant evidence of the existence of other intelligent civilizations.
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