Recently Discovered Solar System Is Our Best Chance Yet For Finding Aliens, According To Scientists
In March of 2017, NASA announced that they had discovered a new solar system consisting of seven “Earth-sized” planets orbiting around a star they named TRAPPIST-1. (That is an artist’s rendering of the solar system in the illustration above.)
Back then, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, stated, “This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life. 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.”
This solar system, located just a hop, skip and a jump from Earth — 40 light-years (or 235 trillion miles) — has been studied by NASA for the past year and their scientists have come up with some very interesting new observations.
Researchers determined that all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Additionally, some have up to 5 percent of their mass in water, which is 250 times more than the oceans on Earth.
The form that water takes on TRAPPIST-1 planets would depend on how much heat they receive from their ultra-cool dwarf star, which is only about 9 percent as massive as our Sun. Planets closest to the star are more likely to host water in the form of atmospheric vapor, while those farther away may have water frozen on their surfaces as ice. TRAPPIST-1e is the rockiest planet of them all, but is still believed to have the potential to host some liquid water.
The question of the planets’ atmospheres is also important for understanding whether liquid water could be present on these surfaces — an essential ingredient for habitability.
Habitability?! That means ALIENS, RIGHT?! Or does it just mean we might be able to move there once we inevitably use up this planet?