A newfound solar system just 39 light-years away contains seven warm, rocky, Earthlike planets, scientists say.
The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have ever detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying distant worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth.
“Before this, if you wanted to study terrestrial planets, we had only four of them and they were all in our solar system,” said lead author Michaël Gillon, an exoplanet researcher at the University of Liège in Belgium. “Now we have seven Earth-sized planets to expand our understanding. Yes, we have the possibility to find water and life. But even if we don’t, whatever we find will be super interesting.”
Only 39 light years? Pfft. I travel at least that far effortlessly every time I dream, so really how hard can it be? In my view, the most pressing question has nothing to do with how much oxygen, nitrogen, liquid water, etc. etc. these seven planets might have. The only question I really need answers to before I cash out everything I have on Earth and launch myself in that general direction is how many conservatives.
One is one too many.