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Scientists find a new planet that’s mostly made of iron

Tony Stark might have found a new home.

Mercury is pictured between the Earth and the sun.
Mercury, center right, passes between Earth and the sun on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, as seen from Lutherville-Timonium, Md. Scientists recently found a new iron-rich planet that could help researchers understand Mercury — a planet in our solar system — a little bit more.
Julio Cortez, Associated Press

Scientists recently found a new iron-rich planet that could help researchers understand Mercury — a planet in our solar system — a little bit more.

Researchers discovered a planet 31 light-years away that is mostly made of iron, according to a medical report published in the journal Science.

  • “From our measurements, we find that this exoplanet is smaller and less massive than the Earth,” said Kristine Lam, a researcher at the Institute of Planetary Research in the German Aerospace Center in Berlin, according to NPR. “It could be similar to Mercury, which is composed of mostly iron.”

The planet — named “GJ 367 b” — only needs eight Earth hours to rotate around a dwarf star, according to NPR.

  • The planet has temperatures around 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, the planet might have similarities to one we know pretty well — Mercury.

“We can imagine this planet is probably like a molten planet, at a temperature where a lot of metals can start to melt. Perhaps it has lava, and perhaps it doesn’t have an atmosphere, but at the moment we don’t know yet,” Lam said, per NPR. “What we do know is that this planet is quite dense and has an interior similar to Mercury.”

Szilárd Csizmadia, who works at the German Aerospace Center, said that the planet’s iron core is similar to Mercury, which has a core mostly made of nickel and iron, according to Science Alert.

  • “These properties are similar to those of Mercury, with its disproportionately large iron and nickel core that differentiates it from other terrestrial bodies in the Solar System,” he said.