Google doodle celebrates discovery of seven exoplanets
New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Google on Thursday celebrated with a doodle NASA’s announcement of the discovery of seven Earth-size planets around a single nearby star — believed to be the best target yet for studying the atmospheres of potentially habitable worlds outside our solar system.
“This just in! Turns out it wasn’t just dust on the telescope lens: NASA just announced the discovery of seven Earth-size planets orbiting the same star only 235 trillion miles away. In space terms, that practically makes us next-door neighbors!” Google said in a statement.
Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.
This exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1, named for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile.
“What exactly does this new solar system TRAPPIST-1 mean for our universe? Well, three of these newly discovered planets land smack-dab in the middle of what scientists call the habitable zone, or the distance from the star it orbits ‘where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water’,” the statement added.
Though scientists have some serious studying to do before we can definitively say whether any of the new TRAPPIST-1 planets are habitable, the potential is very promising.
So if three of these new TRAPPIST-1 planets land in the habitable zone, what about the other four?
According to NASA, all seven planets could have liquid water, the most crucial ingredient for life — assuming the right atmospheric conditions.
The star-studded doodle created by artist Nate Swinehart, depicts the discovery of the exoplanet system with the help of a telescope.
Unlike our solar system, the planets in TRAPPIST-1 are very close together.
“If we’re able to visit one of the TRAPPIST-1 planets one day, we could be able to watch each neighbouring planet pass by on its orbital journey!” the statement added.