The First Completely Solid Exoplanet Confirmed!


Today, NASA announced the finding of Kepler 10-b, and it’s the first “confirmed discovery of a rocky planet around another star.” Righteous! It’s also the most Earth-like of all the exoplanets that have been found, clocking in at 1.4 times the size of our lovely Blue Marble.

Don’t pack your fucking bags yet though, cautions io9:

Unfortunately, Kepler-10b doesn’t fit any of the other criteria for a potentially habitable planet. It’s 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to ours, placing it far from the habitable zone that would allow life to survive there. Indeed, Kepler-10b races around its star, completing an orbit every 0.84 days. And, though it’s only 1.4 times the size of Earth, Kepler-10b is a dense world, with a mass 4.6 times that of Earth and an average density similar to an iron dumbbell.

Totally depressed now? Yeah, me too. Frak. Scientist Douglas Hudgins drops some encouraging words:

The discovery of Kepler 10-b is a significant milestone in the search for planets similar to our own. Although this planet is not in the habitable zone, the exciting find showcases the kinds of discoveries made possible by the mission and the promise of many more to come.

Well then! Party on.