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The CoRoT satellite has found the smallest terrestrial exoplanet yet, — with a diameter just under twice that of Earth — complete with a rocky surface you could walk on and possibly even oceans to sail across.
CoRoT-Exo-7b is located very close to its parent star, orbiting once every 20 hours. Astronomers estimate temperatures on the planet could be between 1000 and 1500°C and it possibly could be covered in lava or water vapor. This latest exoplanet was detected as it transited in front of its parent star, dimming the light from the star just enough to be noticeable.
The parent star lies about 140 parsecs from Earth, located about half way between the star Sirius in Canis Major and Betelgeuse, the red giant star in Orion.
The internal structure of CoRoT-exo-7b particularly puzzles scientists; they are unsure whether it is an ‘ocean planet’, a kind of planet whose existence has never been proved so far. In theory, such planets would initially be covered partially in ice and they would later drift towards their star, with the ice melting to cover it in liquid.