A news story of great impact for human history that ESO (European Southern Observatory) and NASA released today. Discovering 7 Earth-like planets in a system just 40 light-years away gives a great picture to life after earth and interplanetary travel.
This is what ESO comments on its site:
“Astronomers have discovered a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away. Using ground-based and space-based telescopes, including ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope), all planets were detected as they passed in front of their star, the ultra-cold dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. According to the article published today in the journal Nature, three of the planets are in the habitable zone and could harbor water oceans on their surfaces, increasing the possibility that the system could welcome life. This system found has both the largest number of Earth-sized planets and the largest number of worlds that could have liquid water on their surfaces. ”
Co-author Amaury Triaud adds: “The emission of energy from dwarf stars like TRAPPIST-1 is much weaker than that of our Sun. So that there would be water on their surfaces the planets would have to be in orbits much closer than We can see in the Solar System. Fortunately, it looks like this kind of compact configuration is what we’re seeing around TRAPPIST-1! ”
The team determined that all of the planets in the system are similar in size to Earth and Venus, or a little smaller. Density measurements suggest that at least the six planets in the innermost zone are probably rocky in composition.