NASA announcement: 7 New Earth-like Exoplanets Discovered

February 23 2017
NASA announcement: 7 New Earth-like Exoplanets Discovered

Paris: For the first time, Astronomers from NASA have discovered Seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a small star in our Galaxy called Trappist-1. There is a possibility that these planets could hold life although scientists have not confirmed so far.

The past few years have seen an explosion in the discovery of planets outside our solar system. Astronomers have now confirmed 3,442 exoplanets in the galaxy, and they think there could be 100 billion or more in total.

Of those, 1,264 are so-called ice giants, 1,043 are gas giants, and 781 are "super Earths" with masses many times higher than the rock.

After identifying these planets, astronomers can observe them more closely and investigate whether their atmospheres contain oxygen, methane, or other telltale gases that signify life.

The discovery "is very promising for the search for life beyond our solar system,” told Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium. It is the first time astronomers have found so many Earth-sized planets circling the same sun.

Since the seven planets orbit the star-- which is roughly 40 light years away-- fairly close to each other, the view from one planet would reveal other planets to look as big, if not bigger, than the way we see the moon from Earth.