“Are we alone in this universe? Is there no place which can sustain life like ours?” these are the questions that have crossed the minds of all the space researchers and astronomers. From Sci-Fi movies to the children’s comic books, the quest for finding alien life has been a major part of the modern day pop culture over the years. Though countless expeditions and images sent by the powerful space telescopes have had us concluded that there are planets where life can grow but what NASA has recently discovered will surely open new frontiers in the domain of space research and will make it place in the human history.
Recently during a press conference in Washington DC, NASA executives have confirmed that the Spitzer Telescope has sent the pictures of seven earth-like planets which are orbiting a star just 40 light years away. But the thing that is more astonishing is that three of those planets fall in the “Goldilocks zone”. To put it simply, NASA has found that three of those seven planets are at a suitable distance from their star where life can grow just like in our earth.
This is the first time in the history of space exploration that astronomers have found a solar system much similar to ours containing seven planets as big as our own earth. Moreover, NASA has concluded that under the normal atmospheric pressure and conditions, water may be flowing over the surface of these newly discovered planets. So there is a high chance that seeds of life may have already been nurtured there.
Though all the seven planets may be suitable for life to sustain and may have liquid water but the chances of finding life are highest in three planets that fall in the so-called “Goldilocks zone”. NASA is sure that further investigation will unveil the presence of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, methane in the atmosphere of those newly found planets.
According to Michael Gibbon, the lead author and the investigator of the TRAPPIST survey for finding exoplanets said that further research will be able to indicate whether life is present there with almost 99 percent confidence. Moreover, this discovery is being considered as the first step in solving a puzzle of finding habitable environments that can sustain human lives.
These planets revolve around a dwarf-star which is shorter and also dimmer than that of our sun. This solar system which is being touted as the Trappist-1 is about 235 trillion miles away from us. Scientists think that the planets are terrestrial planets much like that of ours and not gas giants like Jupiter. Though there is a lot to be learnt about the Trappist-1 system but we cannot simply deny the depth and significance of this discovery. Hope there are still more to this discovery as the common populace is also excited to unveil the truth that the Universe still holds.