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Habitable Planets Orbiting TRAPPIST-1 – NASA, 2016

Thanks to advances in technology, scientists are finding more new habitable planets than ever before. And, they are finding these planets at a pace we novices might find astounding. Because of the introduction of many more advanced telescopes, we are increasing the possibility of finding extraterrestrial life daily.

In fact, astronomers found seven planets orbiting a cool dwarf star in May of 2016. Six of those seven planets lie within the goldilocks zone. The goldilocks zone is where temperatures are neither too hot, nor too cold to support life. And of those six habitable planets, three have oceans. On earth, where there is water, there is life. The planets orbit the dwarf star TAPPIST-1, and it is 39 light years away from earth.

This might not sound like such a big deal, but this revelation caused the potential for finding life on other planets to rise significantly. So, most scientists will argue that it is no longer a matter of if we find life on other planets. It is now a matter of when we find life on other planets.

Rocky Planets

I have to admit I’m envious of scientific researchers who spend hours looking for that needle in a haystack. Because researchers have found that there are more exoplanets, with rocky surfaces, in our galaxy than we could have possibly imagined. And, our journey into discovery has just begun. NASA’s Kepler telescope recently identified 1,284 such exoplanets. That discovery brings the total number, as of May 2016, to 3,200. Of which, Kepler found 2,235.

Geisel 436e is the largest rocky planet to be found lies. It is approximately five times the mass of the earth. And, It is one of many rocky planets to be found within its star’s habitable zone. To date, astronomers have discovered 52 habitable planets. But, finding them has not been easy.

Habitable Planets Gone Rogue – Southwest Research Institute

Rogue Planets

The most fascinating discoveries have to be that of the estimated 300 billion rogue planets in our universe. These rogue planets are ones that have been ejected from their solar systems, most likely by gas giants jockeying for position. This estimate is based on planetary masses first found in the Chameleon Cluster in 1996 by some Japanese scientists. Scientists spotted more, later, in the Orion Nebula.

Many might think that these planets, roaming far out in the reaches of space, are forbiddingly cold worlds. However, scientists found a hot rogue planet a mere 100 light years away. So, as we learn more, maybe one day we will find that true phenomena of science, a rogue planet capable of harboring life forms. Wouldn’t that be worth broadcasting for all of earth’s inhabitants to hear? And, maybe some other inhabitants, on a rocky planet out there in the expanse of space, might respond to our message one day!


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