2017-03-07 12:47:51 UTC
For millennia, people have gazed into the night sky and wondered, "Are we
Now the discovery of seven Earth-size planets orbiting a nearby dwarf star,
Trappist-1, has brought us not just a step, but a leap closer to answering that
question, according to the scientists who announced it in a Feb. 22 news
conference recorded by NASA.
"The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter
of 'if' but 'when,'" said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the
Science Mission Directorate at NASA.
It's the first time so many Earth-size planets have been found around one star;
three of them, within the so-called "habitable" or "Goldilocks" zone where
liquid water could form on the surface and support life, according to NASA.
Proof of extraterrestrial life on one of any of the planets orbiting Trappist-1
would answer the big question of whether we are alone in the universe. But it
also would raise many more some, with theological implications.