Here’s how NASA plans to track down alien life-in our solar system and beyond. Many astrophysicists and astronomers are convinced that it’s not a matter of if we ‘ll find life – it’s when. This puts TRAPPIST-1g in the cards as a possible home for alien life, considering this rocky exoplanet lies in the star’s habitable zone and could have both liquid water and an atmosphere.
For decades, Jupiter’s moon Europa has fascinated scientists and the public alike after it was learned that a global water ocean lies beneath the icy crust. A combination of carbon dioxide and methane (like in Earth’s atmosphere) can be even more telling, since carbon dioxide and methane would normally react with each other to produce new compounds. TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star that’s only slightly larger than the planet Jupiter and about 2,000 times dimmer than the sun. The three orbit an ultracool dwarf star a mere 39 light years away, and are likely comparable in size and temperature to Earth and Venus, they reported in a study, published in Nature. Several scientific researches show that the moon doesn’t have the capability to support life.
The nearest star system is about 4 light-years away or about 20 Trillion miles. All seven of TRAPPIST-1’s planets are about the size of Earth and three of them – planets labeled e, f and g – are believed to be in its habitable zone, that swath of space around a star where a rocky planet could have liquid water on its surface, thus giving life a chance.
In our solar system, Earth is situated squarely in the habitable zone where liquid water can form, while two other planets – Venus and Mars – skirt the inner and outer edge, respectively.
The new generation of space-based star gazing instruments led by the James Webb Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s ARIEL mission will be able to describe exoplanet atmospheres in far greater detail. Astronomers announced this week that they’ve found two planets nearly identical in mass to that of Earth, within the habitable zone of a star that, cosmologically speaking, is not very far away at all.
The inner planet, called Teegarden b, has an orbit that lasts just 4.9 days, which means its year is less than one of our Earth weeks. Astronomers have never seen anything like this before: Seven Earth-size alien worlds orbit the same tiny, dim star, and all of them may be capable of supporting life as we know it, a new study reports.
The system has been revealed through observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST ( TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope ) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. These seven worlds – which Gillon and his colleagues announced in the new study, published online in the journal Nature-are all roughly Earth-size. The team used this information to determine TRAPPIST-1h’s orbital period, which is 19 days. What this means is these planets are likely to have an atmosphere and possibly support life. Some of them are in the Goldilocks zone, ( Not too hot, not too cold ) where water could exist on the surface. A planet like that must be “just right”.
The recent findings have posed a question regarding our own solar system: Why don’t we have an Earth-like planet closer to the sun, in that sweet spot of planet formation? A new census of planets in the Milky Way galaxy shakes up that thinking. New data collected by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft pegs one in six stars in the Milky Way of having planets that are the same size as Earth.
Astronomers have found a new planet, and it’s the closet planet to our solar system. According to models, the TRAPPIST-1 system contains three planets in the habitable zone, making it the record holder for stars we know of with rocky planets that could potentially support liquid water, Kaltenegger explained. This discovery signifies the largest number of Earth-sized planets found and largest number of potentially habitable worlds for a single star system. These chemical hazes can tell us what the surface temperature is on these planets, as well as how able they would be to support alien life.
Some readers may recall there’s an even closer Earth-sized planet to us that is a mere 4.25 light years away, called Proxima Centauri.
“Having migrated so close, they probably plunged deep into the star’s envelope during the red giant phase, but survived”, lead author Charpinet said.
Green had been pursuing a survey to look for hot subdwarf stars in the galactic plane of the Milky Way. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine explained in a Congressional hearing this past July that the study of today’s most ubiquitous astronomy topics, like dark energy and exoplanets, was only beginning when the JWST project began. “But, according to the Decadal Survey, such a telescope would “settle essential questions in both exoplanet and dark energy research, which will advance topics ranging from galaxy evolution to the study of objects within our own galaxy”.
These ground-based telescopes are better for observing planets around cooler, small M-dwarf stars, Aki Roberge, scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center working on LUVOIR, recently told Gizmodo. The Kepler mission was based on a very innovative design. Out here live the gas giants – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – which have bulked up on hydrogen and helium and other volatiles. But many of Nasa’s other space telescopes are also getting old, and the James Webb Space Telescope set to replace Kepler has been significantly delayed.
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have conducted the first spectroscopic survey of the Earth-sized planets ( d, e, f, and g ) within the habitable zone around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. The results, instead, favor more compact atmospheres like those of Earth, Venus, and Mars.
“There now seem to be too many lines of evidence to dismiss plumes at Europa”, said Robert Pappalardo, Europa Clipper project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The alien world, a gas ball similar to Jupiter, circles in a tight three-and-a-half-day orbit around the yellow star HD209458, located 150 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus”.
As they had hoped, the researchers found a specific blip in the star’s spectrum during a transit, indicating that the distant planet contains sodium – and confirming it possesses an atmosphere. Thanks largely in part to the work being done by the Keplar Space Telescope, scientists have discovered around 2,300 planets that may be capable of supporting extraterrestrial life.
All stars have differing properties, including size, gravitational pull, and energy output. Proxima B is believed roughly Earth -sized and in its solar system’s habitable zone, meaning it would have similar gravity to Earth and at least the possibility of liquid water. As it turned out, high-resolution magnetometer data from Galileo showed an unexplained brief, localized bend in the magnetic field.
From the results, the researchers found that a water vapor plume best explained the anomaly-material in the plume becomes ionized and leaves a characteristic signature in the magnetic field. And now, we know a little more about the most distant planet in the bunch. However, it’s not likely to be a place for humans to live as it orbits a much younger, more powerful red dwarf star that is likely roasting the planet into an inferno.
The TRAPPIST-1 planetary system is shaping up to be a good place to look for life beyond our home planet. We conclude that the outer planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system are capable of retaining their atmospheres over billion-year timescales .
Now, a new study into the seven Earth-like exoplanets of the TRAPPIST-1 system uncovered two of the outer planets, TRAPPIST-1 g and h, could be able to retain their atmospheres in spite of the stellar wind produced by their parent star.