Astronomers discover Mars-sized planet where the ground is molten iron

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Astronomers have discovered a distant exoplanet where the surface may have been made of molten iron.

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The planet, classified as GJ 367b, is located 31 light-years away from Earth and has a diameter of over 9,000 km, making it roughly the size of Mars.

“By accurate determination of its radius and mass, GJ 367 b has been classified as a rocky planet,” said Christine Lamm of the German Aerospace Center.


“Mercury seems to have similarities. This places it among sub-Earth-sized terrestrial planets and brings research a step further in the search for a ‘second Earth’.”

Its year lasts less than eight hours, making it part of the ‘Ultra-Short Period’ (USP) group of planets that orbit their star in less than one Earth day.

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Since the planet is so close to the star, its surface temperature can reach 1,500C – it absorbs more than 500 times the radiation of Earth.

“We already know some of these [USP planets] But their origin is currently unknown,” Dr. Lamm said. “By measuring the precise fundamental properties of the USP planet, we can get a glimpse into the history of the system’s formation and evolution.”

The researchers were able to determine the planet’s radius and mass with a high degree of accuracy, measuring its radial velocity—as it moves toward and away from Earth—giving them more information about its internal structure. Is.

“The high density indicates that the planet is dominated by an iron core,” said Szilard Sizmadia of the German Aerospace Center. “These properties are similar to those of Mercury, with its disproportionately large iron and nickel core that sets it apart from other terrestrial bodies in the Solar System.”

GJ 367b is located around a red dwarf star that is about half the size of the Sun. Their comparatively cool temperatures make it easy to spot planets around them, and they are some of the most common objects in our galaxy.


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