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NASA delves into history of most earthlike exoplanet

The most earthlike planet found around another star appears to be the remains of a Saturn-sized gas giant, according to NASA research.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

The most earthlike planet found around another star appears to be the remains of a Saturn-sized gas giant, according to NASA research.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center presented its findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington.

Fifteen years ago NASA detected the first planets outside of our solar system. Most of these planets were gas-giants orbiting stars. Now "Earth-sized objects" hold those similar orbits.

In a statement, NASA details its target:

CoRoT-7b, the smallest planet and the most like Earth that astronomers have found to date. Discovered in February 2009 by the Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits (CoRoT) satellite, a mission led by the French Space Agency, CoRoT-7b takes just 20.4 hours to circle its sunlike star, located 480 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. Astronomers believe the star is about 1.5 billion years old, or about one-third the sun's age.

This planet is like Earth, but not quite: The surface is molten and daytime temperatures hit 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using computer models, NASA tracked the planet's loss of mass and determined that CoRoT-7b used to be a massive gas-giant that lost "many Earth masses of material."

Here's a rendering of what this pup looks like:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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