Super-Earths of 2-10 Earth masses are changing our understanding of planet formation

Astrophysicists have now spotted more than 500 planets orbiting other stars and all of these systems seem entirely different to our Solar System. They’ve seen entirely new class of planets such as the Super-Jupiters that are many times larger than our biggest planet with orbits closer than Mercury.

But the one we’re interested in here has a mass that spans the range from Earth to Uranus, exactly the range that is missing from our Solar System.

There are 30-odd Super-Earths known today, rocky planets in a mass range totally absent from our solar system, and they are forcing a rethink of what we understand about planetary formation.

Oh, and they seem to be good candidates for the development of life. So why aren’t we seeing any evidence of intelligent exolife? Everywhere we look we see planets, and now new kinds of planets amenable to life. A Fermi Paradox Great Filter?

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