NASA astronomers found what they believe to be three possibly habitable planets that could potentially be home to extraterrestrial aliens. The planets are similar in size to Earth and are certainly promising for finding alien life.
According to Tech Insider, these three earth-like planets have one thing certainly different from our home we call Earth. The three planets do not orbit a sun. Instead, the three planets orbit what’s called a brown dwarf star, which is approximately 40 light-years away.
Emmanuel Jehin, study co-author, spoke during a press release. He told the runner of TRAPPIST, European Southern Observatory (ESO), this history-changing bit of information.
“So far, the existence of such ‘red worlds’ orbiting ultra-cool dwarf stars was purely theoretical, but now we have not just one lonely planet around such a faint red star, but a complete system of three planets.”
Michael Gillon, who co-discovered the three Earth-like planets, was amazed of the discovery.
“These are the first Earth-sized planets with the potential for habitability.”
The brown dwarf star is a “hot ball of gas” that never fused with hydrogen. Gillon reveals how shocking it would be for a person to stand on one of the three planets, since the brown dwarf star is so different from our Sun here on Earth.
“If we were there, we would see it as red and quite big in the sky.”
The “Sun” from the three planets would appear much bigger than our Sun here on Earth because of the huge size difference. The brown dwarf star, also known as TRAPPIST-1, is much smaller in size than the sun and is much closer to the planets than our sun is to the Earth.
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Time reports that the two innermost planets takes only 1.5 to 2.4 days to orbit TRAPPIST-1, and the outermost planet can take up to 73 days to orbit TRAPPIST-1. Compared to Earth’s 365-day orbit around the Sun, the three planets are quite drastically quicker.
Tech Insider reveals that researchers do believe that at least two of the planets are in the “Goldilocks Zone,” and can possibly be habitable. They appear to be in an area just right for liquid water and not too little or too much light or heat.
It is possible that the third planet may not be in the Goldilocks Zone, and therefore may be too cold for life and not habitable. Scientists also believe that the planets are “tidally locked” — one side of the planets are always facing towards the sun, and the other side towards darkness.
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Martin, a NASA scientist, is not completely convinced and believes it to be a long shot for the planets to be habitable for life on Earth.
“They’re just not quite the right temperatures,” Still told Tech Insider.
“They’re just slightly too warm.”
Martin also noted that the two innermost planets are exposed to up to four times as much radiation as Earth.
Gillon announced that technology doesn’t allow for them to detect elements necessary for life, such as oxygen, water, and methane. He hopes to at least be able to do that within the next decade. Gillon is hopeful that within the next two years, NASA will be able to detect atmospheric compositions of the planets.
“I’m optimistic. I think life is not something that’s a miracle on Earth. I think it’s something that’s quite common, because all the elements are all over the universe.”
Perhaps we did find another planet that is habitable like Earth and sustainable to life. Dillon believes that we could possibly find alien life on planets such as these.
Adam Burgasser, Professor of Physics, tells the Mirror how exciting this new discovery is to him.
“If Earth-like planets around these stars turn out to be common, there may be many more habitable planets out there than current estimates predict.”
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]