Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Its First Rocky Planet: Kepler-10b

In January, NASA announced that Kepler has found its first rocky planet which they named “Kepler-10b”.  This is really exciting news because this is the first time we have discovered a rocky planet orbiting a sun other than ours.  Other planets that have been discovered have been gas planets, like Jupiter.  Kepler-10b cannot support life because it is too close to its sun (called Kepler 10).  In fact, Kepler-10b is 20 times closer to its sun that Mercury is to our sun.  Thus, Kepler-10b is not in the “habitable zone” meaning that It is too hot for water and therefore it is unlikely that life can be found on this planet.  Kepler-10b has a very fast year - it orbits its sun in .84 days!  Click this link to see a video on NASA about the discovery: Kepler-10b Discovery.

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