NASA Discovers An Entirely New Solar System Called TRAPPIST-1 Where Alien Life Could Indeed Exist

A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres.

For decades, extraterrestrial and UFO enthusiast groups have been hoping for signs of life on other planets; an idea that seemed quite farfetched to others.
However due to a new recent discovery made by NASA, those wishing for such life may just get what they have been hoping for!
 

A new solar system discovered

JPEG Pro
JPEG Pro

According to an article written by Henry Bodkin for The Telegraph, “Life may have evolved on at least three planets within a newly discovered solar system that is 39 light years from Earth.” This [mentioned] article was written in response to an announcement made by NASA on Wednesday in which they announced the discovery of an entirely new solar system.
 

TRAPPIST- 1

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This newly discovered solar system has been named TRAPPIST-1, and for those wishing to know more regarding it, the discovery team of the said system has set up a special website where you can read all about it.
In the about section of the mentioned website, the following information has been written: “TRAPPIST-1 is a planetary system, located 12 parsecs away from the Solar system (39 light years), near the ecliptic, within the constellation of Aquarius. Around a star which is 12 times less massive than the Sun and only slightly larger than Jupiter, there are at least seven planets in orbit. The initial discovery was made by TRAPPIST, the TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope
 

More regarding the planets (in the new solar system)

A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres.
A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres.

According to NASA, “researchers using TRAPPIST [initially] announced they had discovered three planets in the system. Assisted by several ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, Spitzer confirmed the existence of two of these planets and discovered five additional ones, increasing the number of known planets in the system to seven.”
 

But why all the hype?

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Andrew Griffin for Independent News states that, “At least three of the seven planets represent the “holy grail for planet-hunting astronomers”, because they sit within the “temperate zone” and are the right temperature to allow alien life to flourish, the researchers have said. And they are capable of having oceans, again suggesting that life could flourish on them.”
 

So does this mean that alien life could truly exist then?

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According to information given in Griffin’s article (mentioned above) “No other star system has ever been found to contain so many Earth-sized and rocky planets, of the kind thought to be necessary to contain aliens.” The article goes on to say that “The researchers might soon be able to find evidence of life on the planets, they [the researchers] have said. British astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, from Liverpool John Moores University, who was part of the international team, said: “The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this amazing system an exciting future target in the search for life. Any evidence of life is likely to be “strong, very strong or conclusive”, the scientists said. It will be done by looking for what molecules are in the atmosphere – if they were to find things like oxygen, and in the right amounts, then it would probably indicate that there was biological activity”.
 

What are the expectations?

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As we can see by reading all the quoted information given above, the research team involved with the whole TRAPPIST-1 project have very high hopes regarding their belief that life might actually exist on one or more of the discovered planets. But just how long do enthusiasts following this story have to wait to know for sure? Co-researcher Dr Amaury Triaud, of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge has been quoted as saying: “We hope we will know if there’s life there within the next decade.” So the wait should not be too long.
 

But if not now, then indeed one day

An exoplanet seen from its moon (artist's impression)
An exoplanet seen from its moon (artist’s impression)

Even if no life is discovered to exist within the new solar system in our lifetime, it is highly likely that it will indeed one day be a reality. Ignas AG Snellen of the Leiden Observatory was quoted as stating that “TRAPPIST-1 burns hydrogen so slowly that it will live for another 10 trillion years – more than 700 times longer than the Universe has existed so far, which is arguably enough time for life to evolve.”
 

Some videos regarding the find (Enjoy)


 

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