Direct observations from a Nasa space telescope have for the first time revealed the atmospheric void of a rocky, Earth-sized world beyond our own solar system, orbiting the most common type of star in the galaxy.

The research, published in the scientific journal Nature, also shows the distant planet’s surface is likely to resemble the barren exterior of the Earth’s moon or Mercury.

It is possibly covered in dark volcanic rock. The planet lies about 48-point-six light years from Earth.