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10 NASA images of planets like Earth

By: Katherine Butler on July 17, 2012, 7:08 p.m.
Kepler, space, planet

Photo: NASA/JPL-CalTech

4 of 11

Exotic atmospheres

[skipwords]Kepler is not the only space instrument trained on exoplanets. Here is an artist’s view of the hot gas planet, HD 209458b, as depicted from information obtained by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. The two instruments revealed that there are molecules of methane, water vapor and carbon dioxide in the planet's atmosphere. HD 209458b orbits a sun-like star 150 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus in a 3.5-day orbit. This planet is not habitable, but experts say that the presence of life-bearing molecules could indicate life on similar planets, but with a rocky surface. [/skipwords]