Meet our New Neighbors!

Posted on March 4, 2017 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

If you haven’t heard yet, in February NASA revealed that they have found seven Earthlike planets!

The announcement has made waves around the world, but what does this discovery really mean? Will we suddenly find ourselves in contact with distant neighbors? What lies on the surfaces of these planets?

Image: Artist’s impression of the view from the surface of a TRAPPIST-1 planet, made after the TRAPPIST-1 discovery
Artist’s impression of the view from the surface of a TRAPPIST-1 planet. Source: Wikimedia

On this edition of Saturdays Around the World, we take “around” to mean something a little larger, and explore a few of the worlds we now know we share the universe with!

To start, let’s get a better understanding of these planets and the science behind them from two of the members of the team that found the planets!

Here is Physics Girl‘s interview with these scientists and a little introduction to discovery!

Now that we have a little background on the TRAPPIST-1 discovery, let’s take a deeper look at how these planets compare to Earth and our own solar system, and take a look at the question, “What would life on these planets look like?”

Here’s PBS Space Time to give us a closer look at out distant neighbors.

There are so many fascinating forces at play with a discovery like this!

With every subsequent discovery like this, we are able to piece together a better understanding of the universe that surrounds us.

Will we ever visit these planets? It’s unlikely. Will we know if they are home to life? Probably not for certain. Will this knowledge push us to ask better questions and seek better answers? Most definitely.

Discovery is an ongoing process. Rarely is a discovery made that does not contribute to a further line of questioning.

It’s still an amazing world, or in this case, an amazing universe, because there is so much out there left to be discovered. As our view of the vastness around us continues to grow, so too will the reaches of what our species is capable of!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

Looking for more space-talk?

There are endless things to explore out there beyond our planet, and if you want to dive into a few of them head over to our Space Category for a closer look!

Or, if you are looking for reasons to celebrate the people and places that make this planet amazing check out the archive of our Saturdays Around the World series!

Happy hunting!

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