The Associated Press reported today that European astronomers have discovered, for the first time ever, a planet outside of our solar system that is not just “full of hot air.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s hot alright, with a surface temperature of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not exactly suitable for life as we know it; but it is solid. More than 300 planets have been discovered outside of our solar system, all of them gaseous balls; but this is the first time one has ever been proven to be as rock-solid as good ol’ Mother Earth. The planet, which was actually discovered earlier this year, has been dubbed Corot-7b and it closely circles a star only a stone’s throw away at a distance of approximately 500 light-years.
The discovery of Corot-7b’s firm physicality has brought great excitement to the scientific community, because of the implications it carries for the potential discovery of planets suitable for human habitation, as well as the possibility of finding extraterrestrial life. It is widely assumed that the beginnings of life anywhere would require some solid ground in which to gain footing, so this discovery strengthens the argument for the existence of life outside of our planet.
As we here at the Austin Planetarium continue our search for some solid ground to build our facility on, we will continue to keep the community updated on our progress and the astronomy and science news of the day. Let us know what you think about the search for extraterrestrial life by commenting on this blog. Stay tuned for more!
For more information on Corot-7b click here.