Scientists are intrigued by a newly-noticed, watery, Earth-like planet, spotted orbiting a small star 40 light years from us. From the Telegraph:
The planet is believed to be too hot to sustain Earth-type life, but could consist of 75 per cent water. Evidence suggests it has an atmosphere, and astronomers believe it to be more Earth-like than any ”exoplanet” found outside the Solar System so far. [Named] GJ1214b, it is thought to be three quarters composed of water and ice and about one quarter rock.
Some of the planet’s water should be in the form of exotic materials such as Ice Seven – a crystalline form of water that exists at pressures greater than 20,000 times the Earth’s sea-level atmosphere.
Scientists believe something besides the planet’s surface must be blocking light from the parent star – probably a surrounding atmosphere that may contain hydrogen and helium.