NASA’s glorious space residing Spitzer Telescope has announced it has spied the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. The cherry on the top is that three of the seven planets are said to be located within the ‘habitable zone’, meaning they may be able to sustain water.
Known as the TRAPPIST-1 system, the findings are a massive step for interstellar discovery and have understandably excited folks all over the globe.
The discovery also sets a new record for the greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system – pretty neat huh.
What’s most exciting about the announcement is the three ‘habitable zone’ planets that could potentially harness life under the right atmospheric conditions. Although all seven have the potential to be water abundant, the three within the ‘habitable zone’ provide the most cause for excitement (planets E, F, G).
A one-way trip to TRAPPIST-1 is going to take you about 40 light-years, which equates to about 235 trillion miles. Although this system is rather close to us in terms of proximity, due to their location outside of our solar system, they are scientifically deemed ‘exoplanets’.
“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “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.”
— NASA (@NASA) February 23, 2017