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December 12, 2010

New Extrasolar Planet

A new carbon rich extrasolar planet has been found using the Spitzer Space Telescope. This planet may be able to support life having equal parts of carbon and oxygen in its atmosphere and possibly having water on its surface. Astronomers are hopeful that simple life may exist on the planet, but considering the high concentration of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, astronomers must temper their expectations. With new knowledge about arsenic-based life on earth, astronomers have found new hope for life.
We can make very accurate temperature estimates of this planet because its daytime side faces earth just before the planet passes behind its host star. This luxury allows astronomers to gain a much better understanding of climate change on the planet and how the climate may affect possible life. There are many more interesting things to consider regarding this extrasolar planet. For one, this planet appears to possess a diamond-based core, making it a very dense planet. This makes me wonder that if humans were ever able to reach this planet that is light years away, would people be interested in capitalizing on this valuable natural resource? In my opinion, business tycoons would be itching to utilize this rich natural resource if drilling could be done to reach it. Another interesting thing to note about this planet is its great size compared to its host star. This planet is huge and is also found close in proximity to its host star. Astronomers do not see planets this large forming near the sun in our solar system. Astrobiologists and other astronomers have reason to be intrigued by this distant planet. For more information, visit the link that I have provided.


Posted by nvohra at December 12, 2010 09:23 PM


While discoveries such as this one are always very important to scientific development, it is also equally important to verify their credibility. In this instance it seems that the only evidence here that the planet has a diamond core is the carbon to oxygen ratio. What other pieces of evidence do they have to support this?

Posted by: devdrake at December 13, 2010 08:42 AM

Scientists are now claiming that the existence of the arsenic life forms on Earth was not properly verified. I wonder if we can really consider this new extrasolar planet with a high concentration of carbon monoxide in its atmosphere as a potential habitable spot. Although I do think this extrasolar planet would certainly be worthwhile for scientists to investigate, I am somewhat doubtful about the presence of life there.

Posted by: eswhang at December 14, 2010 01:51 AM

I agree, as someone on the mainstream, I'm extremely skeptical that a planet is endowed with a 'diamond' core that would make business tycoons jealouus.

However, if a TERRESTRIAL exoplanet has been discovered, it deserves our attention. We have been finding only gas giants, and, as we know, these are high pressure environments not as suited for habitability of life.

Maybe direct image mapping techniques aren't so far in the future?

Posted by: dkaknjo at December 15, 2010 01:59 PM

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