This artist's concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface. The one on the right is rich in carbon -- and dry. Chances are low that life as we know it, which requires liquid water, would thrive under such barren conditions. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Ever wonder what it’s like on planets outside our solar system?  Along with identifying scores of planets in orbit around distant stars, scientists have begun to theorize what those planets may be like.  NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, CA has released results from a study that indicates planets with a large proportion of carbon, may be waterless.

The scientists modeled planet formation around a star that contained a large amount of carbon like some those that have been identified as having planets (our Sun has a relatively small amount of carbon.)  Assembled from the local mass around the star, they theorize that the planets would contain a similar amount of carbon.  Their models show the carbon “locking up” the oxygen instead of allowing to be available to form water.  Read the article at JPL


Did you know:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL, Pasadena, CA) has many different internship and visiting research opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty.  Check out the Internships and Fellowships at JPL.  (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/internships/)