Scientists discover 7 Earth-like planets in our galaxy

Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 20:01:32-05

Last year 3 Earth-like planets were discovered in the Milky Way galaxy.  But, on Wednesday, 4 more planets were discovered which is making scientists excited!

23ABC's Adam Bowles talked to Tiffany Meshkat, a NASA Scientist for GPL in Pasadena,CA to investigate more on how these planets were discovered what this means for future research to see if life can thrive on these planets.

Meshkat tells us that last year 3 Earth-like planets were discovered called B,C, and D.  But the third planet, D, was actually something more.  Discovery was made after an eclipse effect when the planets passed directly in front of their nearest star, Trappist 1.  The eclipse effect created a blur and a blended signal which led to the discovery that D was actually 4 more Earth like planets!  This discovery was made Wednesday and research has begun to find out the composition of the planets and the possibility if they can support life.  

What Meshkat tells us is that the radius and size of the exo-planets are the exact size and exact composition of Earth, which means it could hold the same characteristics as Earth, for example being rocky.  Discovery was also made that the exo-planets are in a habitable zone which means that liquid water can exist on these planets!

The 7 Earth-like planets are about 40 light years away from Earth which is very short when it comes to astronomical terms.  They are also very close to Trappist-1, the star they are orbiting which means there could be less research time to find out about these planets.  The closest planet orbits Trappist-1 in only 1.5 days and the farthest planets orbits in only 20 days.  This is compared to the 365 days that Earth orbits the sun.  

To further investigate these planets, Meshkat tells us that a new telescope will be launched called James Webb which has a much bigger mirror and more advanced and detailed instruments to see if these planets can support life.

What do you think?  How do you feel that there are planets like ours in our Solar System?  Do you think life is on them?