NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to Find Out More About Planets That Can Support Life

The TRAPPIST-1 system is under the focus as it is "an extraordinary collection of 7 Earth-size worlds" orbiting a single star

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to Find Out More About Planets That Can Support Life

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Discovered five years ago, the TRAPPIST-1 system remains a mystery to the scientific world

Highlights
  • The TRAPPIST-1 system an extraordinary collection of 7 Earth-size worlds
  • NASA will train its new James Webb Space Telescope on these planets
  • The TRAPPIST-1 system is situated 41 light-years from Earth

Studies and speculations have gone hand in hand as we continue to look for planets that can support life. Several light-years away from Earth, scientists know a spot where all speculations could come true. The TRAPPIST-1 system is under the focus as it is "an extraordinary collection of 7 Earth-size worlds" orbiting a red dwarf star. According to NASA, it is the "most Earth-size worlds ever found in the habitable zone of a single star." The system was discovered five years ago and still remains a mystery to the scientific world. The American space agency is using the James Webb Space Telescope to find out more about these planets.

According to a post shared by NASA, the telescope "will look for signs of atmospheres around these planets to help us find out more about how suitable they may be for life."

An artist's rendition of the TRAPPIST-1 system shows the seven planets around their star. NASA released the image on Instagram and wrote, "This artist illustration shows the TRAPPIST-1 planets based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses, and distances from the host star."

According to NASA's website, the news of the TRAPPIST-1 system was first announced on February 22, 2017. Five years after their discovery, the system is still an enigma. But now we have some information about the planetary system. We know that it is situated 41 light-years from Earth. Studies suggest that the TRAPPIST-1 planets are rocky and they could be twice as old as our solar system.

According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope is a "real game-changer". The website reads, "Larger and more powerful than any previous space telescope, Webb will look for signs of atmospheres on the TRAPPIST-1 planets."

Scientists are trying to focus on the habitable zone, known as the Goldilocks zone, of the TRAPPIST-1 system. According to NASA, "A prime target for Webb is the fourth planet from the star, called TRAPPIST-1e." The planet is at such a distance from the host star that "the amount of heating is right to allow liquid water on the surface of a planet."


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Further reading: NASA, James Webb Space Telescope
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