Astronomers have announced a discovery which may have an essential effect on life on the planet Earth. Another planetary system, which is comprised of planets with the size of our planet, which could probably have water on them and in that way, life too.
The ocean of new worlds
Nowadays, scientists that work using telescopes at NASA and the European Southern Observatory announced their astonishing discovery – a whole system of planets with the size of the planet Earth. Well, if this is not enough, this team also claims that the planets’ density measurements indicate that six of them, which are more central, are rocky worlds like our planet.
However, that is only the beginning. Keep reading.
Three of these planets lie inside the habitable zone of the star. The habitable zone is a region which surrounds the star which could theoretically possess liquid water, meaning that the three alien worlds can have whole water oceans, which dramatically increase the possibility that there can be life. However, the rest of the planets are not believed to hold water oceans, although the team stated that water was still possible on all those worlds.
Summing all the work done, Michael Gillon, who is the lead author, noted that the newly discovered solar system possesses the greatest number of planets with the size of the planet Earth yet discovered, and also the greatest number of other worlds which could support water in a liquid state. He said that it was an astonishing solar system, not just as they have discovered a lot of planets, but also as they are quite similar to our planet, mostly in size.
Amaury Triaud, who is the co-author, noted that this system’s star is ‘ultracool dwarf,’ clarifying what is the meaning of this, related to those planets. He explained that the output of energies from the dwarf stars such as TRAPPIST-1 showed to be weaker than the one of the Sun. The planets will have to be in much closer orbits and not like those we can see in this planetary system if surface water is there. Luckily, it looks like this compact configuration may be just what can be seen around the TRAPPIST-1.
Reaching other worlds
This new system is about 40 light-years far away. From a cosmic point of view, this is around the corner. However, practically speaking, we will need hundreds of millions of years to get to it with the technology of nowadays, but still, what is notable about it is that it represents the possibility of potential for life, just like this on our planet.
Furthermore, tomorrow’s technology may get us right to this solar system much faster.
Ultimately, the discoveries meant that the TRAPPIST-1 has monumental significance for studies in the future. The Hubble Space Telescope was already utilized in the searches for atmospheres surrounding the planets. One scientist that worked on this research too, named Emmanuel Jehin, asserted that some future telescopes would permit researchers and scientists to take a closer look into this system’s heart. He said:
With the upcoming generation of telescopes, such as ESO’s European Extremely Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, we will soon be able to search for water and perhaps even evidence of life on these worlds.
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Image Credit: Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech