NASA Press Conference: What They Said, What We Should Know

By Charles Omedo , Feb 23, 2017 01:54 AM EST

NASA press conference that held a few hours back has yielded a lot of good tidings to space enthusiasts from across the world. The organizers of the news conference revealed that NASA has discovered seven planets the size of our Earth nearly 40 light-years away from us. The seven planets are orbiting a dwarf star identified as Trappist-1, and three of these planets are capable of supporting life in various forms.

The newly discovered dwarf star Trappist-1 is named after a robotic telescope stationed in the Atacama Desert of Chile - used to first monitor the star. Trappist stands for Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope. According to an astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium, Michael Gillon, the size of Trappist-1 should be the size of a golf ball where the size of our Earth's sun can be compared to the size of a basketball.

What to know about Trappist-1

NASA press conference revealed that Trappist-1 is about 40 light-years or 235 trillion miles away from our Earth, New York Times reported according to findings published in the journal Nature. The constitution of the planets orbiting this dwarf star makes scientists to believe some of the worlds may host life forms. And then, Gillon, who was among scientists monitoring Trappist-1 said this would be the first time scientists would observe several planets orbiting the same star.

Researchers are positive that the Hubble Space Telescope among other ground telescopes could be deployed to analyze planetary molecules in the atmosphere of these planets orbiting the dwarf star. And where it becomes evident that the planets do not and cannot harbor any life, scientists won't be disappointed because they will have understood what makes life non-existent. The seven planets orbit Trappist-1 very quickly, with the closest planet completing an orbit in 1.5 days and the farthest planet completing an orbit in nearly 20 days.

More fascinating facts about Trappist-1 and its orbiting seven planets

NASA press conference disclosed more fascinations about the newly discovered dwarf star and her seven orbiting worlds, the Mirror wrote. Scientists say a rocket from our Earth will spend nearly 44 million years to reach these new worlds, so there's no point planning to visit soon. It is believed that one side of the rotating planets face the star to have light eternally, while the other side faces away from the star to have night eternally.

NASA press conference further stated that no moons have been sighted yet in these planets, and that there temperatures range from zero to 100 degrees centigrade on the surface. NASA's orbiting Spitzer telescope was assisted by a British-operated telescope stationed in the Canary Islands. It is also estimated that while our own sun is about 4.5 billion years old, the age of these new worlds could half a billion years old. However, more research will have to be conducted to determine if there is water out there in some of the planets and if they are truly capable of supporting life.


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