Tags: nasa | exoplanets | discovered | earth | sized

NASA Exoplanets: 7 Earth-Sized Planets Discovered Orbiting a Star

Image: NASA Exoplanets: 7 Earth-Sized Planets Discovered Orbiting a Star

This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows an artist's conception of what the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f may look like, based on available data about its diameter, mass and distances from the host star. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 23 Feb 2017 05:56 AM

NASA announced Wednesday astronomers have discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets outside our solar system, all orbiting a star that has been named Trappist-1.

The exoplanets are located about 40 light-years away from Earth, which is 235 trillion miles, and three of them are in what is considered the “habitable zone,” where water can exist in liquid form and the climate is not too hot or cold.

Discovered with the Spitzer Space Telescope, the find has set a new record for the highest number of habitable-zone planets discovered around a single star, NASA said.

Even so, at current speeds of travel it would take almost a million and a half years to reach the planets, according to Discovery Education. Still, the exoplanets can be studied through powerful telescopes to see whether they could sustain life or have any evidence of life, which is a burning question in the minds of many scientists and others around the world.

“The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when,” said Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters Thomas Zurbuchen in a news conference, Fox News reported.

The discovery “is very promising for the search for life beyond our solar system,” Belgian astronomer Michael Gillon added at the press conference.

According to Gillon, the planets are close enough together that they would appear moon-sized or even larger from the surface of one, Fox News reported.

About 3,449 exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system, have now been identified and confirmed, but very few of them are Earth-sized and located in the habitable zone of a star.

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NASA announced Wednesday astronomers have discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets outside our solar system, all orbiting a star that has been named Trappist-1.
nasa, exoplanets, discovered, earth, sized
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2017-56-23
Thursday, 23 Feb 2017 05:56 AM
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