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Small exoplanet discovered

Detection offers hope for finding other Earthlike bodies

6:18pm, June 2, 2008

Astronomers have discovered the smallest planet known beyond the solar system that orbits an ordinary parent body. Weighing in at only three times the mass of Earth, the planet orbits its parent body at a distance similar to that of Venus’ distance from the sun. But because the planet orbits a body that is most likely a faint, cold brown dwarf, the planet is probably colder than that of Pluto and could not support life, reports David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Nonetheless, the detection is a milestone that gives astronomers additional hope of

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