3 Feb 2011

NASA finds potentially life-supporting planets

9:28 pm on 3 February 2011

United States space agency NASA says it believes it has found several hundred planets in distant solar systems, five of which are Earth-sized and would potentially be able to support life.

The discovery, by the Kepler space telescope, would represent a big increase in the number of planets known to exist, although NASA says it has to make further checks to confirm its findings.

Among the new planets, NASA says it has found six around a single star, 2000 light years from Earth - one of the largest numbers found in a single solar system outside this one.