Scientists have found the potential for atmospheres in the TRAPPIST-1 system, which raises the likelihood of alien life.
In an astonishing and potentially groundbreaking new report, scientists have discovered that there’s a possibility of alien life in the TRAPPIST system based on a study of the atmospheres of seven exoplanets in that system. TRAPPIST-1, which is just 40 lights years away from us here on Earth, has been a key focus in the search for alien life, and this new discovery makes it even more intriguing.
Scientists first discovered the TRAPPIST system in Feburary 2017, and it immediately made waves because all seven worlds are about the size of the Earth, and three of them appear to be in what we call the “Goldilocks” zone of the star that would make them habitable. That, of course, doesn’t mean that life does exist on those planets of course.
However, the latest study gives new hope, as analytic modeling shows that the outer planets have the potential for atmospheres that could be maintained for a long period of time. Scientists believe that this is one of the key ingredients for a planet to support life. However, much more study will be necessary to further learn more about these planets life-hosting capabilities.
“The search for exoplanets has rapidly emerged as one of the most important endeavors in astronomy,” reads the abstract from the paper. “This field received a major impetus with the recent discovery of seven temperate Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. One of the most crucial requirements for conventional (surface-based) planetary habitability is the presence of an atmosphere over long timescales.
“We determine the atmospheric escape rates numerically and analytically for the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system and show that the outer planets are potentially likely to retain their atmospheres over billion-year timescales. Our work has far-reaching and profound implications for atmospheric escape and the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets around M dwarfs.”