The biggest challenge for our space scientists to find life outside our own planet is to find a planet like the Earth. The Space Agency of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration – NASA successfully puts its first step towards finding life. The Spitzer Space Telescope of NASA discovered new planets just like our Earth around a single star. There are total seven planets has been discovered. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star.
This discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. Scientists say that all of these seven planets could have liquid water but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.
At about 40 light-years which are equal to 235 trillion miles from the Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us. As these planets are outside our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as Exoplanets.
NASA discovered new planets system – TRAPPIST-1
The exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1, (name originated from a small Telescope called TRAPPIST in Chile). In May 2016 researchers using TRAPPIST announced they had discovered three planets outside our Solar system. Spitzer (NASA’s Space Telescope) confirmed the existence of two of these planets and discovered five additional ones.
The news that NASA discovered new planets just like the Earth has been published on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 in the journal Nature. The news also announced at a news briefing at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
- As compared to our Sun, the TRAPPIST-1 star classified as an ultra-cool dwarf. It is so cool (as compared to the Sun) that the planets which are very close to it could have liquid water.
- The planets are very close to each other. If a person is standing on the surface of any one of these seven planets he could see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear longer than the Moon in Earth’s sky.
Using Spitzer data, the scientists precisely measured the sizes of the seven planets and estimates weights of six of them. Based on the densities TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely to be rocky. Further observations will help whether there is any evidence of water. The mass of the seventh and farthest exoplanet has not yet been estimated.