CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and earth-based telescopes, astronomers have found a star system with seven earth-like planets, all of which may contain water.
The findings were published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Dubbed TRAPPIST-1, the ultra-compact system contains seven earth-like planets with surface temperatures low enough to support water. It is located 40 light years from earth.
Three of the TRAPPIST-1 planets are believed to be in the habitable zone, close to the system’s ultra-cool dwarf star. According to NASA, these planets take approximately six, nine and 12 days respectively to orbit the dwarf star.
Scientists believe their earth-like planetary compositions may not only support water, but maybe even life.
NASA calculations reckon that all of the planets may have a rocky surface, but the space agency says more investigation is needed to determine if any of them contain water.
In 2018 NASA will launch the James Webb Space Telescope and will use this for further research into the TRAPPIST-1 system. This telescope can reportedly pinpoint water, methane, oxygen, ozone and other elements of a planet’s atmosphere.
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