NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers Ancient Planets

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers Ancient Planets. New Scientist (1/27, Grossman, 297K) reports on a discovery of five ancient planets around an 11.2 billion-year old star. The discovery by NASA’s Kepler space telescope of “planets around an orange dwarf star called Kepler 444, which is 117 light years away and about 25 per cent smaller than the sun,” implies that “our galaxy started building rocky planets earlier than we thought.” Tiago Campante of the University of Birmingham, UK said of the discovery, “Now that we know that these planets can be twice as old as Earth, this opens the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the galaxy.”