Michael Dance

Physics 596

Professor Wilkins

Revised Topic Sentence Outline

Title: Are There Planets Outside of Our Solar System Capable of Sustaining Life Similar To Earth?

Abstract: The search for life in the Universe can most easily be undertaken by searching for the same conditions that allow life on Earth to survive. Using the Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have been able to locate the first confirmed planet whose distance from its star is conducive to maintaining liquid water and thus holds the potentiality to sustain life most similar to Earth’s.

  1. Since carbon based compounds dissolved in water form the basis of all life on Earth, a planet that is able to maintain liquid water on its surface has the potential to sustain life.

  2. To narrow the search for planets capable to sustain life, we first look for a plane that orbits in a region not too close or too far from the star to maintain a steady effective temperature, called the Habitable Zone.

  3. A planet must have a rocky composition, a large enough mass to retain a significant atmosphere, a steady effective temperature, and live inside its solar systems’ Habitable Zone to maintain liquid water on its surface.

  4. Kepler-22b is the first Earth-like planet to be discovered inside the Habitable Zone.

  5. Kepler-22b is the best planetary candidate to support carbon based life because of its many characteristics that resemble Earth.

THM: Kepler-22b is the best planetary candidate that could support life outside of our solar system to date.


  1. Kepler Home Page. March 31, 2012. NASA Ames Research Center. April 2, 2012. www.kepler.nasa.gov.

  2. Astrobiology: Life in the Universe. Daniella Scalice. April 30, 2002. NASA. April 2, 2012. < http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/ask-an-astrobiologist/question/?id=144>.

  3. The Habitable Zone. Stony Brook University. April 2, 2012. <http://www.astro.sunysb.edu/fwalter/AST101/habzone.html>.