I have always been wondering is there another form of life out there. Are we alone in this vast universe? Looking at the stars can make you wonder if we can live on another planet. Well, wonder no more.
Major discovery was announced today by NASA. Over the past years scientists have discovered more than 3,000 so-called “exoplanets” and today they have announced that they discovered a new solar system.
With the help of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star has been revealed today.
The newly discovered star is called Trappist-1 and it’s only 39 light years away from our planet. It is being orbited by seven Earth-sized, rocky planets, which have been observed some time now by a team of scientists.
This discovery is very huge and it’s not a big deal that the solar system is big or that so many planets have been discovered at once. It’s a great discovery that will accelerate the search for alien life.
According to Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, “This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive 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.”
In the official video made from NASA, scientists explain how excited they are about the discovery and they talk about what they have actually discovered.
Several researches that were using TRAPPIST announced in May 2016 that they had discovered three planets in the system.With the help of the Spitzer telescope, the existence of two of these planets was confirmed and in addition, five new ones were discovered.
Trappist-1 is an ultra-cool dwarf that’s barely bigger than Jupiter and all of the seven planets have orbits that are very close to the sun and they are also close to each other.
However, there is more exciting news for astronomers and space lovers. NASA and ESA will launch the James Webb space telescope in 2018. So what is so exciting about it? Well, with the help of this telescope, scientists will be able to look at chemical properties of an exoplanet’s atmosphere with more precision than before.
According to NASA, “Webb will be able to detect the chemical fingerprints of water, methane, oxygen, ozone, and other components of a planet’s atmosphere. Webb also will analyze planets’ temperatures and surface pressures – key factors in assessing their habitability.”
Early calculations for these exoplanets have already show that three of the seven planets could have liquid water on their surface and maybe a basic life can be developed there.
That is the real reason why NASA and other scientists are so excited by the Trappist-1 discovery- the discovery itself raises the potential that life beyond the Earth may actually be real.