Belgian and U.S. scientists have discovered three planets which they believe could be inhabitable. This group of planets are very similar to the Earth in size, and are located at such a distance from their closest star that their levels of radiation and temperature are very much like the ones on Earth. But there is one big difference: The sun around which they orbit.
The scientists named this star TRAPPIST-1 after the telescope with which these planets were discovered, the TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), which is located at La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. This planetary system is one of the best three candidates for holding life in the Milky Way – beyond the Earth – to date.
Current technology allows us to study the atmospheric composition of a planet similar to the Earth in a precise way, but only if it orbits around a star not much larger than Jupiter, like in the case of an ultra-cool dwarf star like TRAPPIST-1”, said Michaël Gillon, main author of the article.
This finding represents a giant scientific step for mankind, expanding the debate regarding our time here on Earth and helping us explore the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. For further information, visit the European Southern Observatory original article here.