NASA discovers seven Earth-sized worlds
NASA has unveiled the discovery of a new solar system just 39 light years from earth with no less than seven Earth-sized worlds, in a major news conference in Washington D.C.
Of these, at least three are said to be capable of having oceans, increasing the likelihood of life. Orbiting around the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, the six inner planets lie in a temperature zone where surface temperatures could range from zero to 100 degree celsius.
At this time, no other star system is known to contain such a large number of Earth-sized and probably rocky planets.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, said “This gives us a hint that finding a second earth is not just a matter of if, but when.’
Among rumours about if and what the planets will be named, Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege said that the team had discussed naming them after Belgian beers, but that he wasn’t hopeful this would be officially endorsed.
As the US space agency had previously chosen to remain secretive with the details of this press release, it caused a major stir and reactions from people.
The US tech publication CNET, who claims to be aware of the new discoveries, prior to the press conference, said: “it could very easily provide us with new settings for many future works of science fiction.
NASA officials had also announced that a Reddit Ask Me Anything session will be held after the conference which will enable the public to ask questions and they will also be able to raise questions during the conference using the hashtag #AskNasa.