NASA Finds, Verifies 1,284 New Planets

NASA announced Tuesday that it has found and verified 1,284 new planets, making it the single largest planetary discovery in history. Ellen Stofan, a chief scientist for the agency said the announcement "more than doubles" the number of confirmed planets from the famed Kepler telescope. "This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth," she said. Of the telescope's more than 4,000 potential planets, the 1,284 have a greater than 99 percent chance probability of actually fitting the qualifications to be deemed a "planet." Astrophysics Division director Paul Hertz added: "Before the Kepler space telescope launched, we did not know whether exoplanets were rare or common in the galaxy. Thanks to Kepler and the research community, we now know there could be more planets than stars. This knowledge informs the future missions that are needed to take us ever-closer to finding out whether we are alone in the universe."