It’s both too hot and too cold, has no atmosphere, and is no place to take a vacation—but there is an upside.
LHS 3844b is covered in dark lava rock and doesn’t have an atmosphere. It’s difficult to see any upside [NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)]
It’s hard to say anything positive about the exoplanet LHS 3844b. It’s a wretched place; an alien world that orbits its tiny star in less than half a day. As it’s so close to its red dwarf star, it’s tidally-locked—when one side of the planet is always in baking daylight, the other side is in a perpetual frozen night. Oh, and it doesn’t even have an atmosphere.
Why the heck am I even writing about this unfortunate celestial object?
Well, it might not be our idea of an interstellar getaway, but it is remarkable for two profound reasons: It’s a rare look at the surface conditions of a rocky exoplanet orbiting a distant star, and the very fact that astronomers are confident it doesn’t have an atmosphere is a really big deal.
World of Extremes
Discovered in 2018, LHS 3844b is located nearly 49 light-years away. It has a radius 30 percent larger than Earth ...