Seven New Planets | Trappist-1

So many stories today about the new Earth-like planets found around a Jupiter sized star. It is hard to keep up and make sense of the new information. This NASA news conference explains the importance and why scientists are so excited.


I will be away from the computer this evening. Comments are welcome but my responses will be delayed.


17 thoughts on “Seven New Planets | Trappist-1

  1. I laughed when I saw “Trappist-1,” since my first thought was of monks. I was curious about the name, so I went looking and found this: “TRAPPIST-1 got its name from the TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope in Chile, which was used to discover some of its exoplanets.”

    • Thanks for posting that. I was in a hurry and didn’t bother letting anyone know. (There are probably some Catholics that work with that telescope.)

  2. Hi Jim, I read several articles about this today. It is interesting news. Scientists say several of the planets are within the habitable or ‘Goldilocks’ zone (not too hot not too cold) to support liquid water. I think the field of Astrobiology is fascinating.

    • Even though they are in habitable zones, that could still mean hellish conditions for a human. Life can exist in some pretty awful conditions that people would avoid.

      Still, it is a fascinating and exciting story.

  3. Life and time. Life may be common in the universe. But human like life (intelligent life??) may inhabit such a small moment in time (fruition to extinction), it may, forever, be undetectable, especially considering our own time. Sorry Jim I’ve been drinking! 🙂

    • Makes you wonder if all the SETI efforts are fruitless. In our one sliver of time that we exist in this universe, we assume there is other intelligent life either at or beyond our current progress. Quadrillions of advanced life could have already evolved, tried as we are, and then burnt out in their own search for life. Quadrillions more will come after us. But like the great spaces between galaxies and stars and even the vast spaces between electrons and protons, the chasm through time is likely too great for two alien civilizations to ever know of each other’s existence.

      • I agree. There is great hope for contact. But, as you so clearly described, the probabilities are not in our favor. I do still want to keep SETI listening and keep studying the qualities of other planets like ours around other stars.

        What amazing things we can see with our technologies.

  4. Finding these 7 planets is exciting, not because I think there could be intelligent life there but because there might be any life at all. That would be profound, with huge implications for science and philosophy.

    All 7 planets are likely to be locked with one face to their star, so the habitable zone would be small. Also, their solar system might not have the multi-billion-year longevity needed for life to develop. But the mere fact of their size, makeup and number is very promising for finding other such systems. I for one would like to see money diverted from manned missions to Mars to the search for more extra-solar earth-like worlds. Thanks to robots, Mars is pretty-well known and it’s dead.

  5. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and really soak in the news yet, but I’m incredibly excited by it. Not necessarily because we’d ever meet anyone who lives on those planets, if there is anyone, but because it’s another step bringing us closer to finding out what there is out there. It’s not really a question of when we’ll visit them, or anything like that, but this discovery is a little bit more understanding of how the universe works. I have no doubt that there’s other life out there, somewhere, and that alone is deeply humbling to me. This discovery might not yield anything specific or concrete. The mere fact that this system exists, and that we found it, though, means that we’re a little closer to finding something huge and profound. We as a people have learned something new, and that’s something worth congratulating. If there’s more, great, it’d be something that would question some basic assumptions of who we are. I can’t wait to get *THAT* news. We’re getting there. Sooner or later, we’ll find some concrete proof, whether or not we ever visit, it’ll be nice to be able to wave hello.

  6. “Potentially habitable” is an interesting term used in this video in relation to the new planets. It’s truly amazing how these days one is actually thinking in these terms, although this has been going on for quite some time, but now the explanations are more convincing.

    • Habitable for humans is much more restricted than for other simpler creatures. For example, the deep ocean hydrothermal vents harbor abundant life forms which find it habitable even in total darkness. Such places likely exist on other worlds in our solar system and those around other stars.

      • Yes. That can be done by studying the spectrum of light from those bodies. That will eventually be done. The James Webb Space Telescope will be helpful for sure.

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