Melior: Kepler-186f

It was the first exoplanet found in the habitable zone that was approximately Earth-sized. The NASA artist’s depiction has become one of the standard images you’ll find when looking for potentially habitable exoplanets.


Its distance from its red dwarf star, the heat it receives, and its size had everyone speculating that this is a planet where water could exist. If water could exist, then life as we know it could exist. The inevitable jump in reasoning then leads the all too eager to begin to ask, ‘What would life be like on Kepler-186f?

This kind of question is several assumptions ahead of anything we could possibly know. Yet part of stargazing is the love of speculation, of letting your mind go, which is part of the reason why NASA decided to use this exoplanet in its retro-poster project.


With its year 130 days long getting one-third the energy from its star than Earth does and that light further along the spectrum to the red wavelength, we can think of this exoplanet as being in perpetual twilight.


Which is part of the reason I like the artistic depiction set as this post’s featured image. I suppose that you could see this as twilight or dawn, depending on your mood. This is what has led me to name Kepler-186f


Pronounced ‘mee-lee-or,’ I take it from the concept of Meliorism, which is the notion that human endeavor (industry and imagination) is the foundation for all progress. It is a simple metaphysical concept that is the quiet cornerstone of modernity and most humanism. 

As the first verified potentially habitable exoplanet, I believe the name Melior is appropriate because it suggests a world that could be a place where we better ourselves–where every day is a new dawn that we must make the most of.

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