Did Scientists Find Extraterrestrial Life?
Three worlds in the “Goldilocks zone”
The search could be over.
Researchers just discovered a planetary system located 40 light years from Earth that hosts three possibly habitable planets each the size of Earth. Based on the calculated dimensions and surface temperatures of the planets, the scientists established that parts of each planet might have conditions ideal for life.
According to a new report in the journal Nature, researchers have now found the two innermost planets are rocky and have tight, dense atmospheres, like those found on Earth and Mars.
To make their discovery, the team borrowed NASA’s Hubble telescope and pointed it at the system’s star, TRAPPIST-1. The team commandeered the telescope in order to capture a rare double transit, when two planets in a system nearly simultaneously pass in front of their star.
The team was able to document a combined transmission spectrum of TRAPPIST-1b and c, which means that as one planet then the other crossed in front of the star, they could evaluate the modifications in starlight wavelengths as the quantity of starlight dipped with each pass.
The “pristine” data uncovered will lead to further studies using ground-based telescopes (Credit: NASA)