Scientists Find 7 Earth-Sized Planets, Some Could Hold Life

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Astronomers have spotted a dwarf star with seven planets orbiting around its dim glow. Incredibly, some of the planets could potentially hold liquid water, and therefore, life. This mind-boggling discovery was announced on Wednesday by a Belgian research team and NASA. According to ABC 13, “This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius.” The seven planets’ star, called Trappist-1, is about the size of Jupiter.

Michaël Gillon, an astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium told NPR, “If you were on the surface of one of these planets, you would see the other ones as we see the moon or a bit smaller. The view would be very impressive.” An artist with NASA already drew a “travel poster” of sorts with a dream-like view from planet TRAPPIST-1f. Click through the Instagram photos below to see the rendering.

New planets outside our solar system! We discovered the most Earth-sized planets found in the habitable zone of a single star, called TRAPPIST-1. This system of seven rocky worlds-all of them with the potential for water on their surface-is an exciting discovery in the search for life on other worlds. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone. This illustrations show planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, including a travel poster and the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, one of the newly discovered planets. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech #nasa #space #exoplanet #earthlike #habitablezone #star #trappist1 #astronomy #spitzer #science

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Aside from the fantasy of vacationing on one of the planets, this discovery brings about an increased possibility of discovering extraterrestrial life. “Finding seven transiting Earth-sized planets in such a small sample suggests that the solar system with its four (sub-) Earth-sized planets might be nothing out of the ordinary,” The Leiden Observatory’s Ignas Snellen wrote. If Earth-like planets aren’t as extraordinary as we once thought, the probability of finding more, maybe with life, has increased greatly.