"Our solar system is not as unique as we might have thought," says lead author Courtney Dressing of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "It looks like rocky exoplanets use the same basic ingredients."
As a fun aside, the CfA astronomers created a recipe for how you could "bake" your very own Earth-like model world:
- Ingredients: 1 cup magnesium, 1 cup silicon, 2 cups iron, 2 cups oxygen, 1/2 teaspoon aluminum, 1/2 teaspoon nickel, 1/2 teaspoon calcium, 1/4 teaspoon sulfur, dash of water delivered by asteroids.
- Blend well in a large bowl, shape into a round ball with your hands and place it neatly in a habitable zone area around a young star. Do not over mix. Heat until mixture becomes a white hot glowing ball.
- Bake for a few million years. Cool until color changes from white to yellow to red and a golden-brown crust forms. It should not give off light anymore. Season with a dash of water and organic compounds. It will shrink a bit as steam escapes and clouds and oceans form.
- Stand back and wait a few more million years to see what happens. If you are lucky, a thin frosting of life may appear on the surface of your new world.