An artist's illustration of an Earth-like planet. The search for planets that are similar to Earth is one of NASA's main goals. Many planets have already been discovered orbiting other stars, but so far only larger planets (the size of Jupiter or larger) have been found. New missions are being planned by NASA which will be able to detect smaller Earth-sized planets. Some of these missions will also try to detect signs of life on these planets by studying emissions in their atmospheres.


Extrasolar Planet Art Gallery

Here are some art pictures of extrasolar planets or exoplanets and other worlds beyond our solar system. Click the images for larger pictures.

Weird Worlds
Gallery — Strangest Alien Planets
What is an Extrasolar Planet?, click here & here.


Weird Worlds

Could planets made of diamond or iron exist? While hundreds of exoplanets have already been discovered, it could just be a matter of time before we find some truly bizarre ones. Click to read.

Gallery — Strangest Alien Planets
Extrasolar Planet Art Gallery Click here.

NEWS ABOUT: Extrasolar Planets update: 20 Oct 2010
Astronomers find weird, warm spot on an exoplanet‏ new!
Surprise Discovery: Two Planets, Two Stars, One System new!
Vast solar system found 127 light years away new!
First-Ever Photo Of Alien Planet Finally Confirmed (PICTURE) new!
'Superstorm' rages on exoplanet new!
Exoplanet spotted in motion around its 'sun' new!
Weird Orbits of Alien Planets Could Affect Chances for Life new!
Aack, No Brakes! Giant New Exoplanet Goes the Wrong Way new!
Astronomers find sun-like star eating Jupiter-sized planet new!
Sun-like star's 'oddball' planet
Planet Found Orbiting Same-Size Star
Hidden planet discovered in old Hubble data
Ancient Solar Systems Found Around Dead Stars
Top 5 Most Extreme Exoplanets
Planet found orbiting puffed-up star
Astronomers capture first images of new planets
Diamond Planets: Rich Possibilities for Other Worlds
Planet-Forming Disk Discovered Orbiting Twin Suns
First Planet Under Three Suns Is Discovered
Solar System's 'look-alike' found
Has the youngest known planet been spotted?
Faraway Planets Collided, Study Suggests
Young Planet Orbits Sun-Like Star
Largest extrasolar planetary system discovered
Largest Known Exoplanet Discovered
Alien planet 'could float on water'
In a Strange Universe, We Stick to Search For Familiar Life
'Clear Signs of Water' on Distant Planet
Strange alien world made of 'hot ice'
First sign of water found on an alien world
Strange New Planet Baffles Astronomers
Strange 'twin' new worlds found
Strange New Worlds Could Make Miniature Solar Systems
Faraway planetary system may be habitable
'Big' Discovery: Hypergiant Stars Might Harbor Planets
Strange New World Unlike Any Other
Strange Miniature 'Solar Systems' Revealed
Planet hunters find new Neptunes

Save Our Planet Earth

Our Planet Earth
Now that you're thinking about saving our beautiful earth and animals.
Visit websites here to help Save Our Planet Earth!
Oh, No! Our earth is in trouble, and we've got to save it!
Recycle Links here:
The Worst Examples of Pollution (These photos are shocking)‏

Facts About Earth
Oh, No!: Bad Facts about our earth

--> If you throw away 2 aluminum cans, you waste more energy than 1,000,000,000 (one billion) of the world's poorest people use a day.
--> Making a new can from scratch uses the uses the energy equal to half a can of gasoline.
--> About one third of what an average American throws out is packaging.
--> More than 1,000,000,000 (one billion) trees are used to make disposable diapers every year.
--> In one minute, 50 acres of rainforest are destroyed.
--> Some rain has a pH of 3 or 4. (which is pretty acidic, considering 7 is neutral, not acidic, and battery acid has a pH of 1). Some fish, such as lake trout and smallmouth bass, have trouble reproducing at a pH of 6, which is only slightly acidic. Some clams and snails can't survive at all. Most crayfish are dead at a pH of 5. You can see how bad this is for the environment.
--> On average, a person in the US uses energy two times more than a person in Japan or West Germany does, and 50 times more than a person in India.
--> About 90% of the energy used in lighting a standard (incandescent) light bulb is lost as heat.
--> Air conditioning uses 10 times more energy than a fan, therefore, it creates 10 times the pollutants.
--> It takes half the output of the Alaskan pipeline to heat the air that escapes from all the homes in the US during a year.
--> Cars and pick-up trucks are responsible for about 20% of the carbon dioxide released into the air.
-->There are about 500 million automobiles on the planet, burning an average of 2 gallons of fuel a day. Each gallon releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air.
--> About 80% of our trash goes to landfills, 10% is incinerated, and 10% is recycled.
--> Since there is little oxygen underground, where we bury our garbage, to help bacteria eat the garbage, almost nothing happens to it. Scientists have dug into landfills and found ears of corn still intact after 20 years, and newspapers still readable after 30.
--> The average American makes about 3.5 pounds of trash a day.
--> In a year, the average American uses as much wood in the form of paper as the average resident of the developing world burns as fuel.

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Astronomers Say Moons Like Ours Are Uncommon

November 20, 2007

This artist's animation shows bodies as big as mountain ranges smashing together. Such collisions form the basis of the planet-building process. An even bigger collision between Earth and a body the size of Mars is thought to have created our moon. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

The next time you take a moonlit stroll, or admire a full, bright-white moon looming in the night sky, you might count yourself lucky. New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggest that moons like Earth's - that formed out of tremendous collisions - are uncommon in the universe, arising at most in only 5 to 10 percent of planetary systems.

"When a moon forms from a violent collision, dust should be blasted everywhere," said Nadya Gorlova of the University of Florida, Gainesville, lead author of a new study appearing Nov. 20 in the Astrophysical Journal. "If there were lots of moons forming, we would have seen dust around lots of stars - but we didn't."

It's hard to imagine Earth without a moon. Our familiar white orb has long been the subject of art, myth and poetry. Wolves howl at it, and humans have left footprints in its soil. Life itself might have evolved from the ocean to land thanks to tides induced by the moon's gravity.

Scientists believe the moon arose about 30 to 50 million years after our sun was born, and after our rocky planets had begun to take shape. A body as big as Mars is thought to have smacked into our infant Earth, breaking off a piece of its mantle. Some of the resulting debris fell into orbit around Earth, eventually coalescing into the moon we see today. The other moons in our solar system either formed simultaneously with their planet or were captured by their planet's gravity

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Super-Earths will have plate tectonics

SOURCE: New Scientist
14 October 2007

"Super-Earths" - rocky planets up to 10 times the mass of Earth that orbit other stars - probably have similar structures to our world, with a solid inner core surrounded by a liquid mantle and then a crust. They may even have plate tectonics, which some argue is necessary for life to evolve.

Dimitar Sasselov of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and colleagues came to this conclusion after modelling geological processes on planets of various sizes. They found that as planetary mass increases, more heat is trapped and convection increases. As a result the shear stress within the crust increases too and plate thickness decreases. That means the plates are weaker and plate tectonics becomes "inevitable" ( Our own planet seems to lie at the threshold. If it were any less massive, it would probably not have plate tectonics.

Plate tectonics may boost biodiversity by recycling chemicals and minerals through the crust. "When it comes to habitability, super-Earths are our best destination," says Sasselov.

"The idea is right," says Jack Lissauer of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. "Plate tectonics is more likely on more massive planets."

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