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October 22, 2009

Vacation on Sunny HD 209458b: You Get Water Methane and CO2. You Also Get Flattened and a Crispy Sunburn


Good News: "It's the second planet outside our solar system in which water, methane and carbon dioxide have been found, which are potentially important for biological processes in habitable planets," said Mark Swain of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Detecting organic compounds in two exoplanets now raises the possibility that it will become commonplace to find planets with molecules that may be tied to life."

Bad News: NASA scientists have been able to decipher what chemicals HD 209458b's atmosphere contains even though it is 150 light years from Earth. This exoplanet is a very large gas giant which has a very tight orbit around the star (it is therefore dubbed a "Hot Jupiter"), so life isn't expected to be a possibility, but HD 209458b contains the basic organic chemicals as used, and produced, by life as we know it.

(via Space Disco : Discovery Space: Basic Chemistry for Life Detected on Exoplanet HD 209458b)

Posted by Vanderleun at October 22, 2009 8:02 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Gotta get the Goracle on the line. Seems this would-be planet is ripe for taxation. C02, Methane - this just won't do.

Posted by: Cathy at October 23, 2009 1:53 PM

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