NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Exoplanet Kepler-10b. Animation of Kepler-10b, the first confirmed terrestrial planet to have been discovered outside the Solar System. The discovery of this rocky planet was announced on 10 January 2011. It was found by NASA's Kepler Mission, a space observatory launched in 2009 and scanning tens of thousands of stars in the Milky Way to discover Earth-like planets. Kepler-10b has a diameter 1.4 times that of Earth, but orbits close to its parent star, making it more like Mercury. The surface is molten and blasted by solar radiation that prevents any atmosphere forming. Kepler-10, the parent star, is similar to our Sun but older at 8 billion years. It is 560 light years away, in the constellation of Draco.
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