NASA: 7 Exoplanets Orbiting Nearby Star Are Earth-Like

By Sara Hammond
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 3:09pm
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 8:25am
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(Photo courtesy of NASA)
This artist's concept depicts what it would be like to stand on the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f, located in the TRAPPIST-1 system in the constellation Aquarius.

NASA’s announcement of planets outside our solar system that could be like Earth have scientists in Tucson excited about the possibilities for life.

NASA officials say they found seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star 40 light years from Earth. Three of them could be in a region where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water, a key element for life.

Planetary Science Institute astrobiologist David Grinspoon models the climates of planets that orbit a star other than our sun.

“It’s really an incredible discovery to learn of a relatively nearby system of planets where there are so many Earth-sized planets orbiting together including several that seem to potentially be in the right zone of distance from the star that they might have the climate conditions conducive to life — that’s really exciting," said Grinspoon.

NASA scientists say the discovery will open the door for future study of the potentially habitable planets, including the makeup of their atmospheres.

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