Ever since SETI project, the hunt for planets that may harbor life has taken on a role of its own. Now, for the first time in the history of mankind, we have found a star system that has not one but a whopping seven planets that are capable of nurturing life, at least in theory. Only further studies will clarify just how possible this really is.
This star system within the Milky Way is only 39 light years away and that’s what is so exciting about it. The system has total of seven planets of which, at least three are within the habitable zone. Just the fact that it is so close to Earth is what makes it so amazing. The day we can manage light speed travel, we can actually have a colony on one of these planets if it has an atmosphere that can cater to local variables.
Speaking of local variables, unlike Earth, they are quite different in order to sustain life. Here on Earth we have a bright yellow Sun. On the TRAPPIST planets (the name of their star is TRAPPIST) they have a tiny dwarf star that gives out at best infrared light meaning the atmosphere might be dull red at best. No blue sky but that is not the big problem. All these planets are tidally locked.
Tom from CarboTechEng.com said, “Because of the closeness of the planets with their star and the close range between each of the planets, all of them show the same face to the sun all the time. This means there is a cooler side and a warmer side to each planet. The atmosphere naturally has to be capable of circulating heat away from the side facing the star to the darker side.”
If this wasn’t enough, the star is only one two thousandth the brightness of the sun. Can photosynthesis take place in this kind of condition? If not, then what kind of life might exist. And the bigger question really is whether any of the planets have oxygen that is vital of life on Earth.
Good news thus far though, all the planets in the TRAPPIST system are rocky since they are all close to the size of Earth. When we do touchdown on any of these planets in near future, we will have a ground to leave a footprint on.