The cliffs of Kepler-10b
2011 was 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 image 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.