The Kepler telescope, which has been looking for planets outside our solar system, has found a new rocky planet a bit like a scorched molten Earth. It orbits around a sun like star called Kepler-10 in only 45 days. It is so close to its parent star it is not expected to have any liquid water. It is only 564 light years away!
A new technique using software called blender was used, This is software that fits a lightcurve with possible causes of the dip in start light. If there is a short dip in the line it indicates something has blocked the light. Only a small fraction of other objects can give the exact same lightcurve as that for an exoplanet. This gives confidence in the assumption that planets have been seen. The blender method will help confidence in the 1235 candidate planets found so far and that they are rocky planets like Earth.
Kepler’s main mission is to find out how common earthlike planets are in the Galaxy. The next step from this will be to try and discover what the atmosphere of these planets are like and then investigate life there by looking at the type of elements in the atmospheres.