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Rise of the Super-Earths

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A super-Earth is a planet that is more massive and larger than Earth, although still made of rocks -- perhaps with continents and oceans -- and an atmosphere. There is no such planet in our Solar System, but we know that they must be common in other planetary systems. Moreover, theory predicts that they might have all the nice attributes of Earth, and, in fact, provide a more stable environment on their surface. True super-Earths! A super-Earth is a planet defined by its mass -- between 1 and 10 ME (where ME stands for Earth mass). The first super-Earth was found by the serendipitous work of Eugenio Rivera, Jack Lissauer, and the California-Carnegie team in 2005. It orbits the small star Gliese 876 and is about seven times more mass. seems likely that on some of those Earth-like planets, we will find signs of life.

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