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Seven Earth-like Planets Discovered: Here’s the Basics on What you Need to Know

Seven Earth-like Planets Discovered: Here’s the Basics on What you Need to Know

 

So on February 22, NASA announced that it had discovered seven earth-sized planets around a nearby star using a telescope called TRAPPIST-1

 

Of course the term “nearby” is very relative when talking about space- the small star, located in the constellation Aquarius, is still 40 light-years away

 

The discovery of these planets is big news in the astronomy world

As illustrated by this graph (which is updated as of May 2016), the amount of exoplanets discovered in the past year has surpassed all previous years by a massive amount.

 

The planets are currently unnamed, and are known only as letters B-H, with A being the star that the planets orbit.

 

What is groundbreaking about this discovery is the fact that some if not all of these planets may contain large bodies of water, which means they could potentially support life.

 

Scientists have reported that the planets are closer together than most systems they’ve seen and are composed of rocky surfaces

 

Scientists are beginning to investigate whether or not these planets contain any traces of the gasses essential to supporting life: methane, oxygen, and ozone.

 

If their efforts to locate life on one of these planets are successful, it is possible that we could be seeing advertisements for interplanetary travel like this one in the future

 

For an animated tour of the TRAPPIST-1 system, check out this video NASA posted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2MgG6KhO1E&feature=youtu.be

Marissa Ventrelli is a Freshman at the University of Kansas majoring in journalism. She currently writes for Her Campus and takes photos for her school's newspaper, the Daily Kansan. Her goal is to become a photojournalist for National Geographic but also to own several dogs and have a pathetically impressive collection of nut butters. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, hiking, volunteering, and writing about herself in the third person. After graduation, she hopes to move to Oregon where she will mock its citizens while simultaneously identifying with them on a deep level. 
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