MNN Galleries

10 NASA images of planets like Earth

By: Katherine Butler on July 17, 2012, 7:08 p.m.
Kepler-22, space, planet

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

2 of 11

Where the sun sets twice

[skipwords]Why are we looking for exoplanets such as Kepler-22? Experts say the future of humanity may depend on it. Finding a planet that can sustain life may be the key to the survival of our people, as our planet could fall victim to an asteroid, solar flare, or our own obtuse treatment of it. However, not all planets NASA has discovered are livable. This is an artist’s depiction of Kepler-16b, the most “Tatooine-like” planet yet found. NASA refers to its two suns, which resemble Luke Skywalker’s home planet in “Star Wars.” Even though it circles two stars, the planet is thought to be extremely cold and have a gaseous surface. [/skipwords]