New Exoplanets Discovered

LAST WEEK NASA INTRODUCED US TO SOME STRANGE NEW WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THE DISCOVERY OF 7 NEW EARTH-LIKE PLANETS. AND THIS OUT-OF THIS-WORLD DISCOVERY COULD HELP US ANSWER THE QUESTION OF WHETHER WE ARE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE! MARY MALONEY HAS MORE.

Michael Gillon / Astronomer, University of Liege, Belgium: "This is the first time so many earth-size planets are found around the same star." 

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM NASA WEDNESDAY AS ASTRONOMERSSAY THEY'VE DISCOVERED AT LEAST SEVEN EARTH-LIKE PLANETS ORBITING A STAR 40 LIGHT-YEARS AWAY…CALLED THE "TRAPPIST-1" SYSTEM. NASA SAYS THE DISCOVERY IS RARE FOR TWO REASONS... ONE, THE PLANETS ARE SIMILAR IN SIZE TO EARTH ... AND TWO, THREE OF THE EXOPLANETS ARE IN WHAT NASA CALLS THE "HABITABLE ZONE".. WHERE LIQUID WATER IS MORE LIKELY TO EXIST.

Michael Gillon / Astronomer, University of Liege, Belgium: "With three of these planets in the habitable zone it is promising for the search for life in our solar system."

DESPITE THE "TRAPPIST-1" SYSTEM BEING A BIT COOLER THAN EARTH.. RESEARCHERS BELIEVE IT'S THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR SUPPORTING LIFE...GIVEN THE RIGHT ATMOSPHERE AND ENOUGH GREENHOUSE GASES. THE FINDING COULD ALSO HELP US ANSWER THE AGE OLD QUESTION..ARE WE ALONE?

Thomas zurbuchen / Assoc. Admin., Science Mission Directorate: "The discovery
gives us a hint that finding a second earth is not just a matter of if but when."

I'M MARY MOLONEY REPORTING.

THANKS MARY. NASA SAYS AT LEAST THREE OF THE PLANETS COULD HAVE OCEANS ON THEIR SURFACES, AND ONE COULD EVEN SUPPORT LIFE.  BUT DON’T PACK YOUR BAGS QUITE YET – AS MARY MENTIONED, THESE  NEWLY-DISCOVERED WORLDS ARE ABOUT 40 LIGHT-YEARS AWAY. THAT  MEANS, USING TODAY'S ROCKET TECHNOLOGY, IT WOULD PROBABLY TAKE
ABOUT 11,250 YEARS TO GET TO TRAPPIST-1.

OF COURSE THAT DIDN’T STOP NASA FROM GETTING CREATIVE. TO COMMEMORATE THE DISCOVERY, THE SPACE AGENCY TEASED US WITH THIS TRAVEL POSTER FOR THE NEW PLANETS. SO, REMEMBER, IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO TAKE ULTRA-LONG VACATION TO AN ULTRA-COOL DWARF-STAR, TRAPPIST-1E IS JUST THE TICKET!

THE TRAPPIST-1 SYSTEM IS NOT THE FIRST EXOPLANET WE'VE FOUND -- IN FACT, SCIENTISTS SAY WE'RE ENJOYING A "GOLDEN AGE" OF PLANET DISCOVERY! WITH NEW TELESCOPES LIKE THE KEPLER SPACECRAFT, NASA FOUND OVER A THOUSAND NEW EXOPLANETS LAST YEAR.


Instructional Links


Website Article: NASA Exoplanet Exploration | Annotation italicized

Website Article: DOGOnews, NASA Hits Jackpot With Discovery Of 715 New Exoplanets | Includes diagrams and NASA video

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