It's been less than a year since astronomers detected seven planets around TRAPPIST-1, a remarkable star system located 39 light years from Earth. New research suggests life could take root on at least two of these planets, thanks to a fortuitous orbital quirk. But other scientists aren't so sure, saying TRAPPIST-1 still has much going against it in terms of its ability to foster life.
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From the moment that seven Earth-sized planets were discovered in orbit around TRAPPIST-1 -- an ultracool dwarf star located 39 light years away -- astronomers have been busy trying to learn everything they can about this intriguing star system, particularly its potential to foster life. Recently, an international team of scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to assess the chances of water existing on these planets -- and the results are promising.
Deadly radiation might have dampened hopes that TRAPPIST-1's seven planets could be home to some sort of life, but that hasn't stopped scientists from continued research and investigation. The latest revelation? TRAPPIST-1 is almost certainly older than our own solar system. Much, much older in fact.
TRAPPIST-1 would like to remind you that it was drinkin' beer while you were still rompin' around in your diapers -- or whatever old people say. The ultracool dwarf star system, which first was announced back in February, has garnered a lot of interest because it harbours seven Earth-size planets. At least three of those planets are within the habitable zone that can support liquid water and potentially, life. As we're all clamouring to understand this alien system, a duo of researchers has figured out some pretty salient information about its star's age.
Now that TRAPPIST-1 is the trendiest star system in the galaxy, astronomers and nerds alike are clamouring to learn more about it. We know that the seven-planet system contains three planets in the habitable zone, which means they could hypothetically support liquid water, and even life. We also know that the TRAPPIST-1 planets orbit around their ultracool dwarf star very closely, which could be good or bad for finding life, depending on who you ask. And now, we know a little more about the most distant planet in the bunch.
When astronomers announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, Earthlings immediately celebrated the possibility that one of those planetary neighbours could host life. But to physicists, TRAPPIST-1 presented a puzzle: How could those seven planets, all packed around a single star closer than Mercury orbits the Sun, survive? Why haven't they all crashed into each other?
It seems like every week, there's a new contender for Coolest Planet Where There Are Definitely Aliens. For those of us who want to believe, this is an emotionally exhausting cycle, as we're built up and let down time and again. At the risk of screwing with our fragile hearts even more, it's worth mentioning that a recently discovered exoplanet 39 light-years from Earth might actually give the current favourites -- Proxima b and the TRAPPIST-1 system -- a run for their money.
In February, Earthlings rightfully cheered when NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-like planets huddled together around an ultracool dwarf star. The system, called TRAPPIST-1, is especially appealing because it has three planets in the habitable zone, meaning their surfaces could hypothetically support liquid water and even life. As a result, everyone from seasoned astronomers to tinfoil hat believers (*raises hand*) wants to get a piece of that sweet TRAPPIST-1 pie and find some alien babies. But sadly, our hopes might already be dashed. Only a little. Maybe.
The TRAPPIST-1 system has totally entranced Earthlings since NASA announced its discovery last month. For both astronomers and tinfoil hat believers (*raises hand*), TRAPPIST-1 is a sign of hope for finding alien life, since three of its planets are located in the habitable zone which supports liquid water. With water comes life, and with life comes alien conspiracy theories -- at least that's the idea.
New exoplanets -- especially potentially habitable ones -- are always exciting news. The TRAPPIST-1 system is the latest such discovery, stealing all the hype from the previously hip Kepler-186. Habitable, however, is very different to inhabited so, what are the chances a civilisation exists (or did exist) in TRAPPIST-1?
Last month, the solar system lost its collective chill when NASA announced the discovery of a seven-planet system called TRAPPIST-1, just 39 light-years from our Sun. The system is particularly exciting, not only because of its proximity to our planet, but because it has three planets within the habitable zone, where liquid water (and potentially life) could be supported. There's already a website dedicated to these mysterious planets, filled with stunning art and literal fan fiction. In short, TRAPPIST-1 is already getting the One Direction treatment.
On Wednesday, Earthlings were shocked -- and certainly relieved -- to finally get a push notification about planetary discovery, not political corruption. News broke that an international team of scientists had spied seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Three of those planets are located in the habitable zone, where liquid water might form. NASA, the unofficial conductor of this hype train, is doing everything in its power to drum up public excitement -- including building a mythology for TRAPPIST-1 that blends science fact and fiction.