Space 'graveyard' reveals bits of an Earth-like planet
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Astronomers have autopsied a distant, broken apart planet and revealed signs of water and a rocky surface together for the first time, delighting scientists on the hunt for alien life.
In a planetary system some 150 light years away, the right conditions for life appear to have once existed, and planets like Earth may have orbited a star known as GD 61, British astronomers reported in the journal Science.
"This planetary graveyard swirling around the embers of its parent star is a rich source of information about its former life," said co-author Boris Gansicke of the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick.
Around 200 million years ago, GD 61 lost its power and began sucking in the nearest planets with its extreme gravitational pull, devouring them to pieces.