Friday, July 20, 2012

Reason #240: Liquid-Hot Magma

Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA has discovered a new rarity in the exoplanet field--a planet smaller than the Earth. UCF-1.01, as it's been called, is only 5200 miles in diameter and orbits its star much closer than even Mercury does in our system. Not only does that mean that its year only takes 1.4 Earth days, but it couldn't possibly contain an atmosphere of any kind, and scientists say the entire surface is likely molten--the first such planet I'm aware of. We've already found ice planets and desert planets; now we just need a forest moon like Endor and we'll have the Star Wars hat trick.

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