LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Astronomers
looking for planets similar to Earth have found the smallest planet yet outside
of our solar system.
Scientists detected the planet,
about the size of our moon, using NASA's Kepler telescope, launched in 2009 to
hunt for Earth-like planets.
The scientists say the newfound
planet is too hot to support life. They estimate its surface temperature is 700
degrees Fahrenheit. It also lacks an atmosphere and water on the surface.
Scientists are still
searching for a planet the size of Earth in the so-called Goldilocks zone - the
not-too-hot, not-too-cold place where water could exist on the surface.
The discovery is detailed in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.