Super-Earth found close by, may host water

Super-Earth found close by, may host water

Astronomers say this discovery and others suggest that finding habitable planets is ‘only a matter of time’

By Lisa Grossman, 12:51 PM December 16, 2009

A relatively small planet orbiting a star not far from Earth may be made mostly of water, new observations show.

“This planet is the most Earthlike planet yet discovered,” comments Geoffrey Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley. The observations are reported in the Dec. 17 Nature.

“We’re on the eve of a new phase of exoplanets studies," adds Sara Seager of MIT. "This planet is a harbinger of what’s to come. It’s not just that we can study this one object in more detail. It’s the ...

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