Forty light years away from our planet, NASA has discovered seven planets that are earth-like. These seven planets are small, rocky and just the right distance from a star that liquid water could exist on the surface. What makes this discovery so special is that this is the first time so many planets have been discovered around a same star. They also may contain some amount of liquid water. What this really means is there is a high possibility that there may be life on the surface. When NASA says life, they not only mean human-like beings but even plants, bacteria, insects, etc.
Out of the seven planets, three are habitable. This means water is likely to be present on the surface. Michael Gillion stated that one of the planets has a mass that suggests “a water- rich composition.” The other four may have liquid water as well. It all really depends on their atmospheric composition.
The location of these planets are in a completely different solar system, the TRAPPIST-1 system. All of these prospect planets orbit a dwarf star with the mass of the star being a tenth of the mass of our sun. To put the orbit of the planets in scale, their orbit is comparable to the distance of Jupiter and its moons. Size wise, the planets are rocky and roughly the same size of earth- no more than 10 percent smaller and 20 percent bigger.
How were these planets discovered? Astronomers search for a temporary dimming of a star. This indicates that a celestial body has passed in front of it. These seven planets are great candidates for detailed atmospheric study. Likely to launch in 2018, a telescope called the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to determine the chemical composition of their atmospheres. If they have traces of oxygen, ozone, or methane, life is likely to exist.
What really amazes me is that we have developed technology that has the capability to see millions of miles away without us even leaving planet Earth. And to add a cherry on top, we have developed a telescope that allows us to see the chemical composition of a gas millions of miles away. Molecules are extremely minuscule, so that must be one powerful scope.
Sometimes I say to myself that there are really extraterrestrials in space who tell astronomers about all these planets. Artists have already engendered their own perspective of how the surface these planets may look like. Since it is believed that the planets are so close to the star, each has a permanent day side and a permanent night side. If a person was to look up into the sky, the would see the remaining planets orbiting like moons.
Just by discovering this one solar system, it allows astronomers to look for life and refine their knowledge about planets in smaller solar systems. I believe deep space exploration is necessary because the way we are treating or planet is horrible. In a few years, it will be impossible to reverse the effects of global warming. This is a wake-up call to all of us.
NASA administrators believe they will find a prospect planet that will be able to sustain life. “Finding another Earth-like planet isn’t a matter of if but when.”- Thomas Zurbuchen. Personally, I believe there is some other human race waiting to be discovered. What are the chances of us being the only species alive in this universe full of hundreds of billions of galaxies. It just does not make sense to me how people are not open minded to the possibilities of extraterrestrial life.