Scientists Find Rocky Exoplanet

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2009 12:33 PM CDT
This image provided by the European Southern Observatory Wednesday Sept. 16, 2009 shows an artist rendition of the first rocky extrasolar planet called Corot-7b.   (AP Photo/ESO)
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(Newser) – Scientists have at long last discovered a rocky world outside of our solar system, Wired reports. Dubbed COROT-7b (it circles the star COROT-7), the planet has a density similar to Earth’s, said researchers, who believe our greatest chance of finding extraterrestrial life is on a rocky planet with such a density. “This is a day we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” said one exoplanet researcher.

With temperatures ranging from 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime to -200 degrees at night, it’s a pretty safe bet that COROT-7b is lifeless. Indeed, the planet is likely tidally locked, with one side in perpetual day, the other in perpetual night. But it shows that rocky exoplanets are possible, and even potentially common, according to one researcher. The nearby COROT-7c may also be rocky.