Two planets in Trappist-1, a solar system quite similar to ours, could be habitable and support life as we know it, new research suggests. The Trappist-1 system was originally discovered last year, and it created a lot of excitement because of it being very similar to our own solar system. Scientists said that there are planets in that solar system that could support extraterrestrial life.
Scientists have discovered that two planets in Trappist-1 are planets that could potentially host life, for either humans or life like us. The research explored the conditions that could be present on those two planets and it goes through each of those conditions to determine whether those environments could serve as homes for life.
The two planets are probably supporting water and a source of heat. Those are the two main characteristics of a planet that supports life, such as Earth. The scientists are hopeful that they can use the new James Webb Telescope in order to observe the planets with more detail.
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For this research, scientists used complex modelling in order to comprehend the way these planets orbit their star, Trappist-1. The two planets in Trappist-1 system circle in an odd manner, as their orbit is shaped like an egg, which also means that they could experience a phenomenon called tidal heating.
Tidal heating is a phenomenon which occurs when the planet is getting pushed and pulled on a strange orbit. Thanks to this, the planet creates warmth.
“Because the TRAPPIST-1 star is very old and dim, the surfaces of the planets have relatively cool temperatures by planetary standards, ranging from 400 degrees Kelvin (260 degrees Fahrenheit), which is cooler than Venus, to 167 degrees Kelvin (-159 degrees Fahrenheit), which is colder than Earth’s poles,” Amy Barr, PSI senior scientist, said in a statement. “The planets also orbit very close to the star, with orbital periods of a few days. Because their orbits are eccentric – not quite circular – these planets could experience tidal heating just like the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.”
“Assuming the planets are composed of water ice, rock, and iron, we determine how much of each might be present, and how thick the different layers would be. Because the masses and radii of the planets are not very well-constrained, we show the full range of possible interior structures and interior compositions.”
The Trappist-1 solar system was discovered at the beginning of 2017 and has become the most intriguing solar system ever discovered. Scientists recognized at least three of its planets as “holy grail” planets, as they are believed to be able to support extraterrestrial life.
Scientists behind this study published their findings in a study titled “Interior Structures and Tidal Heating in the TRAPPIST-1 Planets” which appears in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.