Scientists have found that water at least once existed on a recently discovered exoplanet orbiting a dwarf star.
Scientists have observed water loss from one of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets they’ve been studying, which could be a huge boost to attempts to find another habitable planet in space near our solar system. Scientists found the Earth-sized palnets near the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 earlier this year, and have determined that they may have a lot of water.
NASA announced in February that scientists had discovered seven Earth and Venus sized planets orbiting the dwarf star, and three of them were determined to be in the habitable zone of the star, where it’s not too hot or cold to support liquid water. Scientists used measurements of ultraviolet energy emitted by the star to estimate water loss on the planets.
Now, scientists will use the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the TRAPPIST-1 system at different wavelengths to see if different regionsof the planet’s atmosphere contain water. They might be able to estimate the probability that life exists on one or more of the planets with further measurements.
“An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1,” reads a statement from the European Space Agency/Hubble Information Centre. “The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbour substantial amounts of water. This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable.”