NASA has discovered 7 Earth-sized planets with the potential for life

Tracy FergusonFeb 23, 2017

Three planets are in the so-called habitable zone, where water and, possibly life, might exist.

In cosmological terms, 40 light-years is well within Earth's neighborhood, but at 235 trillion miles, still a significant distance away.

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The system of exoplanets is called TRAPPIST-1, named for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile.

"The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of 'if, ' but 'when, '" said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA in a conference Wednesday. Finding Earth-size, potentially habitable planets is believed to be the first step to finding other life in the universe.

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Its planets orbit right in close to the star and so receive more or less the same amounts of light and warmth as Earth does from our sun.

NASA just released a sweet new poster of TRAPPIST-1e, "voted best "hab zone" vacation" and fourth planet from the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Watch a video below to find out more info... NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and other instruments were used to discover the planets. The planets that orbit it are clustered more closely, and they probably only ever face Trappist-1 from one side.

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The first earth-like planet to be discovered was Kepler-186f, a rocky planet that lies within the so-called habitable zone and is similar in size to earth. The enormous power of the telescope will enable astronomers to see into the atmospheres of the planets and look for evidence of oxygen, ozone and methane - considered possible signs of life - and will also calculate their temperatures. "Spitzer will follow up in the fall to further refine our understanding of these planets so that the James Webb Space Telescope can follow up". Speaking with The Daily Telegraph about the news, British astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, who works at Liverpool John Moores University, stated: "The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this incredible system an exciting future target in the search for life".

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