NASA’s announcement about an exoplanet discovery has sparked extreme curiosity. Enthusiasts of alien life are especially excited now as they wonder if the arrival of aliens on earth a real possibility now. NASA astronomers discovered seven planets around a star, which look much like our solar system. It is believed that a number of planets might have water. Therefore, there is a possibility that life exists on these alien planets.
For those who are not familiar with the term “exoplanet,” any planet outside the solar system is called so. Just like planets in the solar system revolve around the Sun, these exoplanets move around some other star. The first exoplanet discovery was made in 1988. Since then, scientists have found more than 3,500 exoplanets. People may wonder why there is so much excitement about this exoplanet discovery when there have been thousands discovered already.
NASA’s announcement on Wednesday was about TRAPPIST-1. The small star, which the exoplanets revolve around, is less than 40 light-years or 235 trillion miles away from Earth. Scientists are more excited about this discovery since the exoplanets are found in the “Goldilocks Zone,” which is habitable. This means there is every possibility that the newly discovered planets might have watery oceans, which increases the chance of life on those planets.
Scientists are also excited about the exoplanet discovery because this is the only set of planets, except in our solar system, which consists of so many Earth-sized planets. The exoplanets are around the same size as Venus or Earth, even smaller in some cases. The star these exoplanets revolve around is dim. Thus, the planets are gently warmed, even though the orbits are smaller than the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury.
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NASA’s announcement about the discovery was possible because of Spitzer Space Telescope, which was specifically designed to look for exoplanets. According to Nature, TRAPPIST-1 is just like Jupiter in terms of size, with a mass that is only eight percent that of the Sun.
“The seven planets have equilibrium temperatures low enough to make possible the presence of liquid water on their surfaces,” the journal Nature reports.
The star was named after the Trappist robotic telescope in Chile, which first discovered the shadow of the exoplanets.
People who are ever curious about the arrival of aliens on Earth may find the discovery particularly exciting. If there is life on those exoplanets, the next step could be to find a way to establish contact with them. Theoretically speaking, that might lead to the discovery of an alien civilization, an idea of which has excited scientists and commoners alike for long. According to the Guardian, the exoplanet discovery makes it more possible to discover alien life, thanks to “the next generation of telescopes that are due to switch on in the next decade.”
While six exoplanets are believed to have a temperature suitable for life, the Telegraph reports that at least three of those planets might have watery oceans. The credit again goes to TRAPPIST-1, which is 200 times dimmer than the Sun. Scientists speculate that the star might be salmon-colored with a red glow.
Despite the excitement about NASA’s announcement regarding the exoplanet discovery, it may be improper at the moment to come to the conclusion that those planets have life. The arrival of aliens on Earth is even more far-fetched. Researchers have to study the planets’ atmosphere before drawing any conclusion. Nevertheless, the discovery is surely a great leap ahead in space research.
[Featured image by NASA/Getty Images]