This artist's impression shows sunrise over CoRoT-7b, the smallest-known exoplanet. The world is about 70 percent larger than Earth. Now, a team led by Brian Jackson at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center finds that the planet may be the rocky remains of a gas giant planet whose atmosphere was evaporated by close proximity to the star. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada (Photo : NASA Goddard Space Flight Cent)
It is a big week for space enthusiasts, with the discovery of a distant planet and the news regarding Mars rover getting preparing itself to to land in a few weeks.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida claimed to have found a new planet by the constellation dubbed Leo the Lion.
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"People have been picking at the low-hanging fruit, since Jupiter-sized planets are easier to see. Now we're really pushing the limits of what our telescopes can find", said UCF researcher Kevin Stevenson.
The discovery was made using NASA's Spitzer space telescope.
The size of the planet, temporarily titled as UCF-1.01, is said to be slightly small than Earth. According to the researchers, UCF-1.01 may have temperatures that exceed 1,000 degrees compared to Earth.
Reported to be 33-light years away, "We have a sub-Earth-sized planet that's slightly larger than Mars and essentially right around the corner, at least on a cosmic scale," said Stevenson. "It's one of the nearest transiting planets, it's tiny, and it may not be alone."
According to National Geographic, the planet cannot be confirmed by official standards until the mass of the discovered planet is known.
The discovery of the red planet comes as NASA's newest rover lands on another red planet, Mars.
The rover, named Curiosity, is set to land on Aug. 5, but the landing is will not be an easy feat. NASA officials say Curiosity will be the most complex robotic project ever sent to Mars. Curiosity will test Mars' atmosphere, soil, and rocks, in a mission that cost $2.5 million.
The newest Mars rover is expected to last two years, longer than its predecessors Spirit and Opportunity, both designed for three-month missions.
Pete Theisinger of NASA's jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The reasons Spirit and Opportunity lasted longer are different, so you can't run away with that idea. Do I think Curiosity could last longer? It certainly could. Could it last 10 years? I don't think so. But could it last five years? You bet. If it lasted five or six years, I wouldn't be shocked. But you never know.