NASA Reveals 7 Earth-Size Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

NASA Reveals 7 Earth-Size Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star.

NASA’s Spitzer space telescope picked up the star for 21 days and its data revealed this new discovery. Around a dwarf star named Trappist-1, about 39 light years from Earth, seven Earth-sized habitable-zone planets have been discovered. Only about the size of Jupiter, this star shines with a feeble light about 2,000 times fainter than our Sun. The likelihood of liquid water present due to the temperate climate is likely possible; Mercury, the innermost planet in our Solar System, is six times farther from our Sun than the outermost 7th planet from Trappist-1. Their sizes, compared to Earth, range from 25% smaller to 10% larger, all in a compacted orbit. Astronomers are now searching for answers on whether the planets have atmospheres, as it may indicate the first hints of life on the surfaces below. The Hubble telescope could detect methane and water in the alien air, but both can be produced without life. More complex and convincing molecular signatures might be spotted by Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope, which is due to be launched next year, and other instruments, such as the Giant Magellan Telescope, a ground-based observatory due to be switched on in 2023. But there is only so much that can be done from afar.

The top row shows an artist’s conception of the seven planets of Trappist-1 with their orbital periods, distances from their star, radii and masses as compared to those of Earth. The bottom row shows data about Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Illustration: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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