Scientists help out SF writers, create list of possible planet types

Chart of exoplanet types

Doing SF writers’ work for them, a U.S. research team has worked out the properties of a variety of weird planet types that could exist in alien solar systems, including graphite planets and carbon monoxide spheres. Of course, they didn’t do it to help writers (though that would be a fine reason do do such a thing): instead, they hope the models will help astronomers identify the properties of exoplanets they discover in the future.

And yes, say the scientists, weird as these worlds are, some of them could harbour life…though not necessarily Life As We Know It.

(Via New Scientist Space.)

(Illustration: Marc Kuchner/NASA-GSFC via New Scientist Space)

[tags]exoplanets, astronomy, science fiction, space[/tags]