• NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Just when we needed something to shake this dreary, depths-of-recession world out of its doldrums, it’s NASA to the rescue with a new discovery, announced today: confirmation of a possibly—if ever-so-remotely—habitable planet, 600 light-years away, circling a star similar to our sun. Voices of reason say the likelihood of finding anything like life as we know it is minuscule to nil, but never mind that. According to the announcement, NASA program scientist Douglas Hudgins says, “This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin.” Here’s the news about Kepler-22b, from the folks who know.