7 Earth-like planets discovered less than 40 light years away

NASA has announced the discovery of 7 planets, similar to Earth in composition, orbiting around a star the size of Jupiter.

The planets may contain water, the essential ingredient in discovering life, and provide scientists with the best chance at discovering extra-terrestrial life yet.

exoplanet-comparison
(NASA / JPL-Caltech) Illustrations of the seven discovered planets in comparison to Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

The planets are much closer to their sun than the Earth is to our own, although the sun in TRAPPIST-1 is dimmer, allowing life to potentially grow nearer than is possible in our solar system. The planets themselves are tidally locked, meaning that only one side faces the sun, and is exposed to light, like on Earth’s moon.

Because of its proximity to the Earth, TRAPPIST-1 may be one of the foremost systems to study in the years to come, with SETI, the organization that monitors possible sightings of extra-terrestrial life, promising to monitor the system as well.

(Featured image: an artist’s rendering of the TRAPPIST-1 star from one of its orbiting planets: https://vimeo.com/165008473)

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