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March 31, 2016

Astronomers Map Surface of Alien Planet 55-Cancri-E; One Side Is Almost All Molten Lava and Over 2500 Degrees C, The Other Side is Solid Rock and a Comparatively Nippy 1000 Degrees C

These are not the replacement planets we were hoping for.

Artist's Impression of 55 Cancri E.
Scientists say the planet has an exciting future ahead of it
as the subject of Heavy Metal album covers.

The study used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to produce a precision temperature (exo-)map of 55 Cancri e, which is approximately 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer.

This is the first time such a map has been produced of such a small rocky world around eight times the mass of Earth.

As 55 Cancri e orbits so close to its parent star, completing one orbit every 18 hours, it has become tidally locked -- one hemisphere of the world is constantly facing the star, whereas the opposite side is trapped in eternal night.

Thus accounting for one side being all molten lava, and the other side being just extremely hot rock. But --

The researchers have realised that the day side of 55 Cancri e is a lot hotter than would be predicted from stellar heating alone -- there seems to be "extra heat" that, for now, will remain a puzzle until more advanced space telescopes can be launched.

Scientists speculate the planet is made entirely of Emily Ratajowski's ass.

More Science: Pentagon wonders if enemy nations will make autonomous killer robots. The US doesn't make such robots -- they kill only at the direction of a human being -- but other countries might not be so choosy about command and control of killer robots.

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