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Archive for the 'Extrasolar Planets' Category

Earth-Sized Planets Could Be Nearby

July 25th, 2006 by me

Artist illustration of an extrasolar planet. Image credit: NASA/JPLClick to enlarge
Nearly all of the extrasolar planets discovered so far have been huge, Jupiter-sized and above. The question is: could smaller, Earth-sized planets last in the same star systems? Researchers created a simulation where tiny planets were put into the same system as larger planets to see if they could gather enough material to become as large as the Earth. They found that one nearby system – 55 Cancri – could have formed terrestrial planets, with substantial water in the habitable zone.

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