Once James Webb Space Telescope reaches the super-Earth 50 light-years distant in the weeks ahead, NASA is ready for the worst. Because it revolves so closely to its Sun-like star, 55 Cancri e, the world’s crust would seem to be much like Hell described in the Bible: a place that is always on fire.
NASA estimates that the gap between 55 Cancri e and its star is much lower than 1.5 million mi, or one-fifth the distance between our sun and the very hot planet Mercury. According to NASA’s latest assessment, the day half of the world is likely blanketed in seas of lava since the planetary surface heat is considerably over the melting threshold of conventional rock-forming materials.
Assume if Earth were far nearer to the Sun than it is now. We’re so tight that a year passes in a matter of minutes. Because they are so near, the gravitational pull has kept one half in perpetually sweltering sunlight while the other remains in total shade. Oceans boiling, rocks melt & lava rains down on Earth as near as you can get.
The warmest area on 55 Cancri e is not where it should be, according to the first observations from NASA’s lesser potent Spitzer Space Telescope.
NASA suggests that the planet’s atmosphere is flexible and transports heat around. If 55 Cancri e revolves to generate day & night, this might have horrifying consequences.
Webb might discover a really thin atmosphere if the crust were to heat up, melt and evaporate throughout the daytime. Drops of lava would shower down the surface as the vapor cooled and condensed in the night, solidifying as darkness fell.
In just a few short weeks, NASA expects the James Webb Space Lens to become completely functional, and the first investigations are scheduled for the summertime. Researchers claim that the telescope can identify the existence of an atmosphere.