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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/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry

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The cliffs of Kepler 10b

2011 was a a “banner year” for the Kepler Mission with the discovery of thousands of potential exoplanets. Early in 2011, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler 10b, the smallest planet yet found and by far the rockiest. While Kepler 10b was too hot to support life, it showed that the Kepler Mission was capable of finding planets closer to the grand prize — one that could sustain life as Earth does. This photo is an artist’s depiction of the molten cliffs of Kepler 10b, which is thought to sustain temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the surface of Kepler 10b is hotter than any lava flow on Earth — and hot enough to melt iron.