You know those daily NY Times notifications that ding on your device? I usually don’t read them at all, and put my device on silent. This notification, however, was probably the most important one in scientific history. So important, that the media and radio made multiple announcements about it, NASA was VERY excited to present it to the world, and Google made a google doodle about it:
You know what? Enough guessing. Here’s the thing: NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted a brand new Solar System that is only 40 light years away from ours. (One light year is about 6 trillion miles, but when it comes to the incomparable size of space, 40 light years is not that much.) It involves seven Earth sized planets orbiting around the dwarf star: TRAPPIST-1. It is known as the “first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star“, as quoted from NASA.
The diagram above is what an artist assumes the TRAPPIST-1 system looks like based on telescope images. Planets e, f, and g are proven to be securely in the habitable zone, which is a group of planets that has a high probability of containing water, therefore supporting alien life. “With the right atmospheric pressure, it is possible that all planets [in the TRAPPIST-1 system] have water”, Thomas Zurbuchen stated at the NASA briefing. “The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when.”
This is a very crucial moment in scientific history. For more information, go to the following links:
Five interesting facts about the discovery: