Cape Canaveral (Florida): Scientists of US space agency NASA have identified the best bet ever for an Earth-like planet that might harbor life.
The researchers announced their discovery Thursday based on observations from NASA's Kepler space telescope.
Scientists say it's the closest thing we have to another Earth-sun twin system.
One unanswered question is whether the planet is rocky. Scientists say there's a better than even chance it is.
The planet is in a solar system that is 1,400 light years from our own.
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.
Life could exist on the planet because it is neither too hot nor too cold to support liquid water and its star looks like an older cousin of our Sun, the US space agency NASA said.
"Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years — another Earth," Nasa said in a statement.
The Kepler mission was launched in 2009 to search for exoplanets, planets outside our solar system and about the size of Earth or smaller.
The mission has cost Nasa about $600 million. NASA said in 2013 that two of its orientation wheels had lost function, leaving the space telescope beyond repair.
(With inputs from AP)