An artist's concept of what it would be like to stand on the surface of exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC).

Almost as soon as astronomers turned their search towards small stars, they found a bounty of Earth-sized planets.

Last May, astronomers announced that they'd found three planets orbiting a small, cool star situated near Aquarius, 40 light-years away from Earth.

They doubled down on their announcement yesterday by declaring that seven Earth-sized planets, likely rocky in composition, orbited Trappist-1 in the star's "Goldilocks zone" where life-permitting temperatures prevail. 

The success validated a change in strategy for astronomers, who for decades have ignored dwaft stars like Trappist-1, which is 200 times dimmer than our sun. While it's possible that astronomers were really lucky in finding so many planets, it's more likely that we've been underestimating the number of Earth-like planets.

The money line from a Cambridge astronomer not involved in the discovery: "We’ve made a crucial step toward finding if there is life out there." 

Notably, many astrologers contend we are currently in the Age of Aquarius

Feb 23, 2017

If habitable exoplanets do turn out to be as common as this discovery suggests, where are the aliens? That's the Fermi paradox.

A giant high-tech Faraday cage made with pixel-like optical elements could control precisely what electromagnetic radiation gets through—an informational version of the air-filtration and containment of a biohazard lab. 

We want to find out if there are aliens out there, but do we really want to let them in? A sort of bonkers set of ideas for making a two-way mirror for Earth.
↩︎ Nautilus
Feb 23, 2017
More Headlines