“Waterworld”-like Planet Near Earth Found
A planet covered entirely in water was found orbiting a nearby star. The discovery was found by astronomers in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).
The planet, named GJ1214b, was found some 40 light-years away. It has a mass that is 6.5 heavier and a size 2.7 bigger compared to earth. It is three-fourths water and ice and one-fourth rock, iron and nickel serving as the core. Since it is orbiting a red-type star (rendition pictured), estimates are the surface temperature is at 200 degrees Celsius. The atmosphere consists of helium and hydrogen.
In short, unlike earth, it is considered uninhabitable for humankind.
CfA graduate student Zachory Berta first identified the planet.
The “nearness” of the planet means that space-optical telescopes like Kepler and Hubble can determine the exact composition of the atmosphere in the planet.
Water-covered planets have been in our arts, most notably in Waterworld for film and the planet Cloral featured in The Pendragon Adventures series by D.J. McHale.