The search for planets capable of sustaining life started many years ago. If such a planet was to be found, this would be a dream come true for humankind, and it would make us acknowledge the fact that we are not alone in this universe.
NASA made another discovery, a group of three planets orbiting around a relatively small cold star somewhere around 40 light-years away from us. Those three planets are believed to be about the same size as the Earth, and they may be able to host life forms.
A planet needs to be in the “Goldilocks zone” in order to maintain life forms, which means that it has to be located neither too far nor too close to its home star. It would thus be capable of maintaining decent weather conditions, in order to prevent the planet from freezing or burning, and a complementary surface is needed for maintaining the water into a liquid form.
What does NASA know so far about the star?
The star in question can be found in the Aquarius constellation and light needs to travel 39 years in order reach it. The star was named 2MASS J23062928−0502285 and it’s approximately the size of Jupiter, which makes it about 10 times smaller than our Sun and also colder, burning at 3,200 degrees Celsius. The three planets were not easy to find as their presence was barely discovered through a telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile, namely TRAPPIST. In our galaxy, there are many cold stars, however, scientists were not able to detect any planets orbiting around them. The telescope managed to determine some flashes around this one, giving NASA a hint that the star may not be dancing by itself, but alongside three other planets.
The three planets are scheduled for analyzing
At the moment,there are many unanswered questions regarding the three planets. Their atmosphere has not yet been detected, nor do we know if they are solid or gas planets, or if they are too far away from their star. And it is still too early to be able to determine the chemical composition of the planet’s gases. Some of these inquiries might be answered by the Hubble telescope, but our scientists’ hopes lie in the JWST (James Wabb #Space Telescope), NASA’s new project that is to be launched in about two years. With the help of JWST, scientists will be able to determine if the gases produced by these planets are due to plants and/or microbes. #Science