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Steamy Water World

February 22, 2012 by staff 

Steamy Water World, An astronaut attempting to visit recently discovered planet GJ1214b would land in hot water – literally, United States scientists say.

Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics said they have identified a new kind of planet, dominated not by rock, gas or other common materials – but water.

The planet is “a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere”, they said in a statement after scrutinising the planet with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

“GJ1214b is like no planet we know of,” astronomer Zachary Berta said.

“A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water.”

GJ1214b was discovered in 2009 by the ground-based MEarth Project.

Described as a “super-Earth”, it is about 2.7 times Earth’s diameter and weighs almost seven times as much.

Further studies in 2010 led to scientists suspecting the planet, where the temperature is 232 degrees Celsius, was largely covered in water.

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