CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Scientists using NASA's Kepler space telescope have found the best candidates yet for habitable worlds beyond the solar system, including a pair of potentially life-friendly planets orbiting the same star, officials said on Thursday.
The planets join a list of about 700 confirmed extra-solar planets discovered since 1995.
The new additions include a pair of planets orbiting a star called Kepler-62, located about 1,200 light years away in the constellation Lyra.
Kepler-62's two outermost planets, both about 1.5 times the size of Earth, are located the right distance from their parent star for water - if any exists - to be liquid on the surface. Water is believed to be necessary for life.
"These two planets are our best candidates for planets that might be habitable, not just in the habitable zone," Kepler lead scientist William Borucki, with NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, told reporters on a conference call.