"Super-Earth" offers chance for life outside solar system - | WBTV Charlotte

"Super-Earth" offers chance for life outside solar system

Artist's conception of the newly discovered exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf 39 light years from home. (Source: AP/M. Weiss) Artist's conception of the newly discovered exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf 39 light years from home. (Source: AP/M. Weiss)
The Trappist-1 System has seven rocky planets about the size of Earth circling. NASA scientists announced its discovery earlier this year. The Trappist-1 System has seven rocky planets about the size of Earth circling. NASA scientists announced its discovery earlier this year.

(RNN) - Researchers said that a “super-Earth” discovered just 39 light years away may be one of the best candidates outside of our solar system to support life.

The planet, named LHS 1140b, circles a small, faint red dwarf star at a distance conducive to liquid water, which increases the likelihood of life.

It’s about 40 percent bigger than our home planet, hence the moniker super-Earth, and it’s much more dense, weighing about 6.6 times as much as Earth, giving it three times the gravitational pull.

It's about 5 billion years old, while Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

A lot of planets that big are gaseous, but researchers say this one is rocky, made up of iron and silicates, just like Earth. That's another box you can check off on the "likely to support life" chart.

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