At least 3 of 7 newly discovered Earth-size planets may support life, according to a report published this week.
A Belgian-led research team announced Wednesday the discovery of 7 Earth-size planets tightly circling a dim star in the constellation Aquarius.
3 of the planets were discovered in 2015. Astronomers then built an array of telescopes to get a closer look.
NASA and the astronomers are encouraged that at least 3 of the planets appear to have watery oceans. Water is necessary for life to exist on earth.
The seven planets circle a star labeled “Trappist-1”. The planets are labeled with the letters “b” through “h” — with “a” being the star itself.
The Trappist-1 star is relatively small (much smaller than our sun) and transmits about as much light as a candle.
Depending on the distance from the star, six of the planets have surface temperatures ranging from zero to 212 Fahrenheit — the boiling point of water. Not exactly a day on the beach.
Still, astronomers believe the presence of water increases the likelihood of supporting some form of life.
But that life form may remain a mystery in our lifetimes.
The planets and its star are 40 light years away from earth. Even if NASA sent an exploration team of 20-somethings to search for life, the astronauts would be 60-somethings by the time they reached the planets.
If they’re lucky they might barely make it home in time to celebrate their 100th birthdays.