Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Waterworld Planet Discovered.

The search for life elsewhere in the universe relies on one key factor... liquid water. 

As of today, scientists have already discovered frozen water on many of our neighboring planets in our solar system as well as a number of moons (including our own)... Turns out a team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered an entire planet made mostly of water about 40 light-years away. 
When I say 'mostly water', I don't mean like how the surface of Earth is 'mostly' water... The planet known as GJ1214b is not only covered with water on the surface, but the entire atmosphere is comprised of dense water vapor as well. 
According to Berta, what's happening in this new type of world is something that we can't imagine: "the high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water,' substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience." Their theory is that GJ1214b formed "farther out from its star, where water ice was plentiful" and then it kept getting closer, which started to make all that ice to liquify. 
 GJ1214b is about 2.7 times larger than our Earth, 7 times heavier and orbits a red-dwarf star every 38 hours (unlike our 365 days)... Don't get your bathing suit out just yet.... the water clocks in at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit... OUCH! 

via gizmodo

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