On the heels of the announcement of the first-confirmed Earth-like planet, NASA officials plan Tuesday to announce new discoveries from the founding Kepler mission.
The planet, named Kepler-22b, caused a worldwide sensation in December when NASA researchers announced the planet 600 light years away that rotates in the habitable zone, like the Earth.
Official details about the Tuesday announcement were given, but people might expect the broadcast to include other planets in habitable zones.
During the Kepler-22b announcement, William Borucki, principal investigator with the Kepler mission said that the researchers had 50 possible planets in habitable zones of the 2,326 planets found since the 2009 Kepler launch, according to USA Today.
The $591 million telescope keeps watch over nearly 170,000 stars across the sky and uses light and radiation modulations to identify planets rotating around stars.
Below is NASA's release in full:
NASA will host a news teleconference at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST), Tuesday, Dec. 20, announcing new discoveries by the Kepler mission.
Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the surface of an orbiting planet.
Although additional observations will be needed to reach that milestone, Kepler is detecting planets and possible candidates with a wide range of sizes and orbital distances to help scientists better understand our place in the galaxy.
According to the release, the meeting will include Nick Gautier, Kepler project scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; Francois Fressin, lead author, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.; David Charbonneau, professor of astronomy, Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. and Linda Elkins-Tanton, director of the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington.
Live audio of the teleconference: