Science and Nature

On this exoplanet, the ocean is made of lava and it rains rocks from the skies

On this exoplanet, the ocean is made of lava and it rains rocks from the skies thumbnail

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: November 10, 2020 12:13:44 pm

Exoplanet K2-141b has lava oceans as deep as 100km (Representational image: Reuters File Photo)

A planet so hot that it has lava oceans all over, a planet so inhospitable that it rains rocks, a planet so hellish in its nature that even fictitious villains like Thanos and Darkseid would stay away from it. The K2-141b is an exoplanet 202 light-years away from Earth that is basically worse than how Hell is being described to us by all the religions. A recent study revealed that the planet’s oceans and the atmosphere are all made up of rocks of different kinds.

Unlike Earth which has oceans and ice glaciers, the K2-141b has 100km deep magma-filled oceans and rock glaciers. Scientists predict that it rains rocks on the planet as it has a rock cycle which is completely opposite to Earth’s water cycle. This is because the planet whose size is 1.5 times that of Earth orbits too close to its Sun. It completes one revolution around its Sun in about seven hours and two-third of it is always exposed to sunlight because it’s gravitationally locked which leads to temperatures soaring up to 3,000 degree celsius. The extreme temperature can melt rocks and even vapourise it.

“The study is the first to make predictions about weather conditions on K2-141b that can be detected from hundreds of light-years away with next-generation telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope,” said Giang Nguyen, the lead author at York University who did research under the supervision of McGill University Professor Nicolas Cowan on the study.

The planet’s extreme nature does not stop there. On the other hand, one-third of the planet’s temperature falls as low as -200 degree celsius and supersonic winds blow at 5,000 kmph.

Even though the planet looks as far as one can get from being hospitable in the future, scientists have a positive thought to share after studying the history of planets similar to Earth. “All rocky planets­, including Earth, started off as molten worlds but then rapidly cooled and solidified. Lava planets give us a rare glimpse at this stage of planetary evolution,” says Professor Cowan of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

In 2021, the launch of the Webb Space Telescope will help scientists confirm whether the data collected is accurate or not. The current data has been collected from the Spitzer Space Telescope giving them an insight into exoplanet’s temperatures on both sides.

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