NASA mission finds its first rocky planet outside our solar system
An artist's concept of Kepler-10b, an exoplanet with a mass 4.6 times that of Earth.
January 10th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

NASA mission finds its first rocky planet outside our solar system

There goes the celestial neighborhood.

Scientists at the Kepler mission have discovered their first rocky planet outside our solar system, NASA announced Monday.

The exoplanet, called Kepler-10b, is 1.4 times the size of Earth and is the smallest found outside the reach of the sun's gravitational pull, NASA said Monday on its website.

The discovery came after 10 months of data-collecting by NASA's Kepler mission, tasked with finding Earth-like planets.

“The discovery of Kepler 10-b is a significant milestone in the search for planets similar to our own,” Douglas Hudgins, a Kepler scientist based in Washington, said in a news release. “Although this planet is not in the habitable zone, the exciting find showcases the kinds of discoveries made possible by the mission and the promise of many more to come,” he said.

A habitable zone is a region where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface, according to NASA's website.

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Filed under: Science • Space
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    I want to slap you.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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      January 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Good job NASA.if we start Terraforming in 100 years it will be ready to move into in 5 billion years when our sun burns out.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe

    ..and just another planet found.. when do we get to the real thing?

    January 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Syracuse

    Why NASA wasted all the moneys and resources? We can not go there or live there anyway. Such a waste!

    January 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stupid is as Stupid does

      How was NASA "wasting" money if exploratory research is what the money was allocated for? Do you think we should de-fund exploratory research in medicine too, even if the relevance might not be realized for years and years after the research is performed?

      January 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    PS;
    Isn't the semitry of the universe great.We never find any square,rectangular, octangular or triangular planets.Only round ones.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikore

      I believe you mean "symmetry." And all the shapes you mentioned – square, rectangle, octagon, and triangle – are all two dimensional polygons which are (or can be) symmetrical.

      January 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ThomasD

    Keep looking. The next two years are going to be very exciting in the field of astronomy. There are millions of planets. They know that now and eventually, soon Id guess, they're going to find what we're looking for.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    Ask not, what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Thank you JFK, for sending the first humans to the moon. You are my hero and I love you. I'm sorry your son died in that plane crash. You Kennedys are the best!

    January 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AMERICA 1st

    Is nasa going to invent warp drive in the next 20 years?

    January 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    I can't believe how none of you seems to care that we DISCOVERED A PLANET structurally similar to our own outside this solar system, and instead find some way to turn this into a cynical BS political rant. This is one of the most profound discoveries in the history of the entire human race. You SHOULD care.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Chris.
      Everyone in the Space Scientific community knows the planets outside our Solar System exsist because of the "Wobble" effect on their Stars.It is finding one in a habital zone that is key.

      January 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RUFFNUTT

    i invented warp drive and installed it in my camaro.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RUFFNUTT

    a planet made of rocks...whoa! a planet of rock and roll would be better tho.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Revisionist history

    So sorry... This article has been edited due to security concerns of other lifeforms superior and non apologetic. Also the last ten years of fox radio...rap..deep house..gangsta reality mediums.. Mark twain and an entire list. No worries..we keep our history but insist that you delete yours. special patents and technologies not excluded.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Charles

    Fairly certain that this is not the first rocky extra-solar planet that we've found. I do believe that it is the smallest, but I think I've read about 5 or 6 "rocky" worlds before.

    Still exciting for every planet that is discovered outside of the solar system.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J

    When will we release this notion of the last millenium that life can only exist where water occurs. Yes water creates a dynamic environment for life building molecules. But it is NOT the only environment that can. If anything life is appearing more and more to be a prerequisite, flourishing everywhere the fabric of existence throws it a handful of matter.

    Every fibre of my body says that in 500 years time, the notion that we have today that life is unique to Earth and that we are alone in this Universe will be thought of with the same quaint recollection that we consider those who believed that the Earth was flat when everything we saw in the sky was round.

    We best get this house in order soon for when that moment comes.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Syracuse

    1 or 2 more billion dollars they will find another planet. What the hex just borrow funds from China and let the future generation pay the debts.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obi Won

      It is money well spent nitwit. What if the next one they find has plants and animals on it. Then we can finally get away from all the morons on this world.

      February 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
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