Scientists Spot Smallest Planet Ever Seen
Exoplanet Kepler-37b is the size of our moon
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 21, 2013 6:52 AM CST
This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the newfound planet known as Kepler-37b.   (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

(Newser) – Scientists have discovered the smallest known planet, just a third of the size of the Earth. Mercury, the smallest in our solar system, is two-fifths Earth's size, the AP notes; the new discovery, Kepler-37b, is a far-off exoplanet. "This research shows for the first time that other stellar systems host planets much smaller than anything in our solar system," says a scientist. The ability to spot this planet—via the Kepler telescope—suggests researchers are now capable of finding distant Earth-like planets, Sky News notes.

But don't pack your bags just yet: The new planet is pretty close to its sun-esque star, resulting in rather balmy 700-degree temps on its surface. Further making life inhospitable: No atmosphere or water. Still, "this new discovery raises the specter that the universe is jampacked, like jelly beans in a jar, with planets even smaller than Earth," says one expert.

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Feb 21, 2013 9:29 PM CST
Soon they'll reveal it's just an ice meteor... :-)
Feb 21, 2013 8:48 AM CST
That could mean one of two things. Either it is one of those planets that a Mormon angle gets to be king of with multiple wives OR it could where those 70 wives of the Taliban are hanging out!
Feb 21, 2013 8:47 AM CST
It's probably smaller than Pluto but you still call it a planet, right?