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Posted at 2:12 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Kepler 10-b? NASA announces new discovery; we play 'name that planet'

By Melissa Bell
New Planet
Artist's concept of Kepler in the distant solar system. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The newest neighbor in our galaxy is too close to the star it orbits to be hospitable to humans, but Kepler 10-b, the exoplanet recently discovered by NASA, offers hope that the Kepler mission is on the right track in its hunt for habitable Earth-like planets.

The Kepler mission launched a telescope into space last year to determine how many neighbors in our celestial neighborhood could support human life. The discovery of Kepler 10-b is a sign that the mission is on target.

For a planet to be considered habitable by humans, it needs to have a rocky makeup and a certain size, and to be a certain distance from the star it orbits. Kepler 10-b has two of the three requirements, but it orbits too closely to its star, Kepler 10.

NASA will be hosting a live Web chat about Kepler's quest for new planets at 3 p.m. EST.

The Kepler team was beaten on discovering the first exoplanet that may support human life when a team of astronomers at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the University of California at Santa Cruz last fall found the "Goldilocks" planet Gliese 581G. More than 300 exoplanets have been discovered, but most are low-density gas giants.

Kepler 10, Kepler 10-b, Gliese 581G -- while dutifully impressed with the discoveries, I'm left less in awe of the scientists' creativity when it comes to naming their findings.

Can you come up with better names for the planet Kepler 10-b?

#NamethatPlanet to tell us what the planet should be called. Or leave your suggestion in the comments.

Check out the data page for NASA's discovery here.

Here are some suggestions, so far. I'm partial to Bob:

LUPIN RT @washingtonpost: NASA announces discovery of new planet Kepler-10b. Got a better name? http://wapo.st/egrtg9 #namethatplanetless than a minute ago via Snaptu

Bob. RT @washingtonpost NASA announces discovery of new planet Kepler-10b. Got a better name for it? http://wapo.st/egrtg9 #namethatplanetless than a minute ago via web

#NamethatPlanet infernous(the planet that was too hot)...less than a minute ago via web

@washingtonpost #namethatplanet How about "Pluto#2?" Give us back our smallest planet! We miss Pluto....lol!less than a minute ago via web

Just dont call it Snooki NASA announces discovery of new planet Kepler-10b. Got a better name for it? http://wapo.st/egrtg9 #namethatplanetless than a minute ago via web

By Melissa Bell  | January 10, 2011; 2:12 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

Future Tea Party colony planet--Gunworld

Posted by: cao091402 | January 10, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

#NamethatPlanet. I suggest that the planet get the name Sparvath. It's an old family name.

Posted by: majsen3 | January 12, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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