Scientists have discovered three potentially Earth-like planets orbiting a dwarf star more than 40 light-years away according to a study from the journal Nature. The mysterious dwarf star is unlike the kind many usually see. As they work to unveil the secrets, perhaps proof of aliens will finally solidify.
DWARF STAR HOSTS PLANETS LIKE EARTH
Scientists are calling this ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Usually, a star like this isn’t the kind that planets gather around. It has half the temperature and a tenth the mass of the sun so it barely makes the cut for being classified as a star. That being said, stars like this are long-lived and represent about 25-50% of objects in the galaxy according to a researcher at MIT. Because of their small stature and potential lack of significance, most of these stars are usually shrugged off. However, one gutsy researcher from Belgium decided to take a risk.
NEW WORLDS TO EXPLORE
The planets found are about the size of Earth and receive about four times the amount of radiation from their star than we do from the sun. This suggests that it could be a habitable zone, albeit not ideal for us. Habitable zones determine how close a planet is to a star that it orbits. Given the temperature of these planets based on proximity, the could very well have water on the surface, like Earth. If there is water, it’s possible there is an atmosphere along with it and perhaps even aliens living on the surface themselves.
IF ALIENS ARE THERE, WE WON’T KNOW FOR A WHILE
Since these planets are about 40 light years away from Earth, it’s unlikely we will reach them anytime soon. If there are aliens out there, an expedition to meet them would take millions of years. Aliens aside, from a research point of view, this discovery gives us a target at least to search for life beyond Earth. Scientists don’t have to travel 40 light years for that either. The James Webb Space Telescope allows scientists to see if a shell of an atmosphere exists from these planets so far away. From there we can make judgements on aliens existing on other planets and determining the creation of life on our own.