While the Trump administration stays busy protecting this planet from breathable air and transgender teens, scientists have discovered seven previously unknown "Earthlike" planets orbiting a single star in a nearby solar system. Seven new planets! "Earthlike!" No Trump! No Sessions! No Pruitt! No DeVos! No Bannon! No Pence! OMG DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE PANDAS???
A study published in the science journal Nature this week revealed the seven planets are all Earth-sized, are located a mere 39 light years away, and orbit a center "ultracool dwarf" star dubbed TRAPPIST-1. (Named for the "Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope" in Chile.) It appears TRAPPIST-1 is so ultracool its orbiting planets can hold liquid water, and at least three of them are in "the habitable zone," so in a few decades they'll probably be more habitable than Earth.
— IBM developerWorks (@developerWorks) February 22, 2017
Scientists say the TRAPPIST-1 system isn't ready for Elon Musk to colonize quite yet—they still need to research everything from what the planets are made of to whether they can hold carbon dioxide, oxygen, and other molecules lifeforms need in order to exist. Plus, generally speaking, just because a planet could be habitable doesn't mean humans would want to live there, even if we could leave behind Florida and make Obama president of humans and aliens alike. Still, researchers have gathered enough information about some of the TRAPPIST-1 planets to create an artistic rendering of one of them, and it sure is pretty—not as pretty as Bespin, mind you, but not all planets have been designed by George Lucas.
— NASA Planetquest (@PlanetQuest) February 22, 2017
Scientists have long believed that there are other Earthlike planets in the galaxy, and say the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system offers a unique opportunity for study, both because the system is so close to us and because the star's glow is dim enough that we can see the planets. “Before this, if you wanted to study terrestrial planets, we had only four of them and they were all in our solar system,” Michaël Gillon, an exoplanet researcher at the University of Liège in Belgium and lead author of the study, told the Washington Post. “Now we have seven Earth-sized planets to expand our understanding. Yes, we have the possibility to find water and life. But even if we don't, whatever we find will be super interesting.”
Meanwhile, the nerds are #ONIT.
The discovery of TRAPPIST-1 has already inspired 2 short stories, a poem & a graphic novel. Scientists are amazing.https://t.co/4ldt2jYR15
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) February 22, 2017
Any guesses on the President's reaction to these new undeveloped planets?