LITTLE FRIENDS: Seven Earth-like planets found

CHARLES DALL, Staff writer

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NASA recently announced that 7 possibly life-supporting planets were found around TRAPPIST-1, a star about the size of the planet Jupiter from our own solar system.

All of the planets have been named TRAPPIST-1-b through TRAPPIST-1-h, TRAPPIST-1-a representing the star itself. TRAPPIST stands for the device that discovered these planets: Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope. Out of these seven planets, three of them (TRAPPIST-1-e, -f, and -g) are within what is known by NASA as the “Goldilocks zone.” This area of orbits allows for life to potentially develop.

All seven of these planets range around the size of our home planet, Earth, and are mostly rocky, but are at just the right distance to potentially have liquid water on their surfaces. These planets are known as exoplanets. An exoplanet is any planet that does not orbit our sun.

No other star system known by NASA contains as many Earth-like planets and possibly life-holding planets. The star, TRAPPIST-1, is such a dim dwarf star that it would glow red from the planets’ views. However, due to their close distance the star would appear much larger than our sun.

Scientists are eager to find out more about these exoplanets. In fact, they plan to complete further research on the planets’ atmospheres to see if they are compatible for human life. If so, they plan to launch touring to the planets when technology is available. In fact, these scientists are so encouraged by this promising evidence that they have even created mock touring posters for what NASA calls the “Seven Exoplanet Tour.”

Who knows what lies beneath the atmospheres of these planets? Perhaps they contain horrendous rocky terrains and everlasting storms. Or maybe, just maybe, they can support human life and might even have their own unique life forms – only time will tell.

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