NASA's Spitzer space telescope accidentally discovered a new planet while conducting other studies. This planet -- almost the size of Mars and covered with an "ocean of molten rock" -- was described by one of the space agency's scientists as being "just around the corner" from Earth, cosmically speaking.
When new planets are discovered, inevitably, excitement causes folks to wonder if it's inhabitable. Unfortunately, such is not the case with the (as of now) designated UCF-1.01. The planet is covered in "oceans" of magma and is most definitely not inhabitable to humans.
Perhaps most interesting is that, while most new planetary discoveries are of supersized planets larger than Jupiter, UCF-1.01 is about two-thirds the size of Earth. This is important to note in that the discovery is "really pushing the limits of what our telescopes can find," according to Kevin Stevenson (via ABC News), lead researcher who discovered the planet. NASA's Spitzer space telescope, which orbits the Earth, was used by the research team used to find the tiny magma planet.
Projected temperatures on the new planet are to be around a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, which leads many to speculate that the planet's lava flow is constant, similar to Earth's oceans. This, of course, means that manned space exploration is off-limits, as there are plenty of other planets that could potentially host living creatures, or provide a suitable atmosphere for human beings. Even though UCF-1.01 isn't inhabitable by human standards, the notion that the planet exists could lead to further discoveries of other planets adjacent to the tiny magma rock.
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