The exoplanet LHS-3844b illustrated here is located 48.6 light-years from Earth and orbits an M dwarf star – the most common and long-lived type of star in our galaxy.
Using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, researchers were able to capture a rare glimpse of the exoplanet’s surface.
However, it wasn’t a win in the search for life on other planets. It’s likely that LHS-3844b has little to no atmosphere, with its surface resembling that of Earth’s Moon or Mercury – covered in dark, lava rock. It’s a tidally locked planet, which means that it has a permanent day and night side.
The temperatures are likely to be very extreme, killing any organisms on the planet’s surface. The researchers calculate that the day side is about a warm 726 degrees Celsius. The night side can get as cool as -273 degrees Celsius.
Planet LHS-3844b was discovered in 2018 by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey (TESS) mission.
The finding is published in the journal Nature.
Related reading: There’s plenty of room, but no atmosphere
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