NASA has dedicated years to searching for potentially habitable Earth-like planets called exoplanets. The space agency has a huge list of these planets, some of which are more interesting than others. One such exoplanet is Kepler-1649c; it orbits the red dwarf star Kepler-1649, which is around 300 light-years from our own planet and is the subject of a newly published piece of artwork.
While NASA has learned various things about many of the exoplanets it has discovered, there’s still a lot left to uncover. These planets are known, more often than not, based on the detection of light from their star, which briefly disappears when the planet passes in front of the celestial body.
Based on what little it learns about an exoplanet, NASA may publish an artist’s rendering of what the planet — or its environment — looks like. That’s the case with its new Kepler-1649c image (high-resolution version), which is a concept featuring the potential landscape and its red dwarf star.
Because the exoplanet is within the habitable zone of this star, the water on the planet is liquid — assuming there’s water on the exoplanet, of course. This exoplanet happens to be the closest to Earth, at least in terms of temperature and size, ever found by the Kepler mission.
The concept image shows a landscape very similar to a mountainous area on Earth, one devoid of plants, but with big billowing clouds. Whether the exoplanet actually looks like this is unknown, however — NASA isn’t yet able to investigate these distant Earth-like plants up-close.