After holding us in suspense for days with promises of a "major" announcement, NASA has just revealed that it has discovered 7 "Earth-sized" planets orbiting a nearby star that are relatively well positioned to support life. Which is shocking really that among the literally billions of planets in the universe there might be a couple that are roughly the size of Earth and also roughly the same distance from their star...this is the kind of investigative work that is undoubtedly going to earn some scientists at NASA a really large taxpayer-funded raise.
But before you pack your bags, you should know that the planets are roughly 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. And for those not familiar with exactly how fast light travels, according to NASA, it would take you roughly 44 million years to get there using modern technology.
Scientists say they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these planets could support some type of life but at least three of them are in the so-called habitable zone, where water and, possibly life, might exist.
Per Bloomberg, today's discovery expands upon an announcement from last year of three Earth-sized planets orbiting the star known as Trappist-1...but apparently it took the same scientist roughly the past year to realize that one of those planets was actually three separate planets.
The finding expands on the announcement last year of three Earth-size planets orbiting this star, called Trappist–1. The Dutch team led by Michaël Gillon of the Université de Liège has since figured out that one of those three planets is actually three separate planets. Two newly found neighbors bring the Trappist–1 system total to seven, today’s announcement revealed.
The first planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, were discovered in the mid-1990s. From the earliest findings—Jupiter-size planets orbiting stars more closely than Mercury circles the Sun—astronomers had to tear up assumptions about what solar systems look like.
Since then, some 3,500 expolanets have been discovered. If there are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and each of them has at least one planet, that’s billions of possibilities for Earth-like planets.
And here are some of the specs of the newly discovered planets for those hoping to visit in the near future.
And here is a live feed of scientists who will try to convince you that their latest discovery is very important.
Meanwhile, as shocking as this major announcement is from NASA, apparently people are still slightly more interested in the Barclays bonus pool...