On Wednesday, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope found the “first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star.”
Out of the seven, three of the planets were deemed habitable. The other four planets are either too rocky or consist of mainly liquid water.
NASA chart compares approximate size of 7 newly discovered planets with Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars. Water possible on all, 3 more likely.
The telescope’s new find sets a record for the “greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside of our solar system.” NASA is still unsure if all seven of the planets consist of liquid water. If they did, then there would be a possibility of finding life on these planets. Under the current atmospheric conditions, it makes the most sense that only the three habitable planets would contain life.
These 7 Earth-sized planets were seen by @NASASpitzer around a nearby, ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1: https://t.co/G9tW3cJMnV
Thomas Zureichen, the associate administrator of the agency’s science Mission Directorate in Washington stated that “this discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable enviroments, places that are conductive to life. Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”
The system of exoplanets orbits Trappist-1, a cool and low-mass star located approximately 40 light-years away from Earth.
**Cue Star Wars music**
soooooo LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW BADLY I WANT TO MOVE TO #TRAPPIST1 ALREADY.
NASA has discovered planetary systems before, but nothing as exciting as this. What makes this discovery so important is that the habitable planets are Earth-sized. Since the Trappist-1 is small and dim means the planets would not be as effected by the brightness.
Finding a second Earth is not just a matter of IF but WHEN" - @NASA on 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting single star https://t.co/1gzCf0x21u https://t.co/fWRsY1HCto
Finding these planets also opens NASA up to a world os possibilities. They are able to research distant world in attempts to find atmospheres similar to our own. In the next phase of research, they are hoping to “find key gases like oxygen and methane which could provide evidence about whatever is happening on the surface.”
Most people assume that finding a new planet also comes with alien life. However, there is quite a possibility to find something, especially on the habitable planets.
Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp