A NASA illustration of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope.

A NASA illustration of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope.

And still the mysteries of space and time present themselves for us to be amazed.  Scientists have now found a planet that is almost identical to our earth in size and composition.

But they don’t think there is any life on the planet because it is only a million miles from the sun compared to earth that is 93 million miles away.  In fact, the boffins say the planet shouldn’t even be there.

“This planet is a complete mystery,” says David Latham from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. It couldn’t have formed in place because you can’t form a planet inside a star. It couldn’t have formed further out and migrated inward because it would have migrated all the way into the star. This planet is an enigma.”

“It has everything you could want in a planet except location, location, location,” said his colleague,” Dr Dimitar Sasselov.

Named Kepler-78b after the giant telescope that discovered it, the newly discovered planet is, apparently, a doomed world.

Gravitational tides will draw it even closer to its star. Eventually it will move so close to the sun that the star’s gravity will rip the world apart within three billion years.

The scientist also say that if there had ever been a Kepler-78b in our own solar system, and apparently this is quite possible,  such a second Earth would have vanished long ago leaving no trace for us to find today.

Lads, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we were here before!