A home away from home? Astronomers found at least seven Earth-like planets orbiting a nearby star that could support life, NASA announced on Feb. 22. Keep reading for all the details on the shocking discovery made outside of our solar system!
This is BIG. Astronomers have located at least seven Earth-like planets orbiting a nearby dwarf star called TRAPPIST -1, according to a study published on Feb. 22 in the journal Nature. Each of the planets found outside our solar system are relatively the same size and temperate as Earth, which means they could supply water and potentially support alien life. The shocking discovery was announced during a news conference at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“This is the first time that so many planets of this kind are found around the same star,” explained Michaël Gillon, lead study author and astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium. It’s even more compelling since the seven planets were all found in a tight formation only 40 light-years away. Astronomers suspect them to be rocky planets, rather than gaseous like Jupiter, because of their estimated mass. The habitable zones may even have oceans on the surface.
Researchers believe that TRAPPIST-1f, which is a bit cooler than Earth, is the best candidate for supporting life. The same researchers announced the discovery of three initial planets orbiting the same star in May. Now, that number has increased to seven based on new findings.
“I think we’ve made a crucial step towards finding if there is life out there,” said Amaury Triaud, one of the study authors and an astronomer at the University of Cambridge. “I don’t think any time before we had the right planets to discover and find out if there was (life). Here, if life managed to thrive and releases gases similar to what we have on Earth, we will know.”
HollywoodLifers, what do you make of this shocking discovery? Leave your thoughts below!