GETTYAlien life hopes boosted as water discovered on star system’s planets
At 40 light-years away, the TRAPPIST-1 star system is the closest solar system to Earth that has been discovered.
The solar system was discovered in February by Nasa which found seven planets orbit the relatively dim star.
The newly-discovered solar system has attracted the interest of alien hunters as three of its planets fall into the star’s habitable, or “goldilocks”, zone – the region around a host star where conditions are neither too hot nor too cold to support life.
Now, an international team of researchers who have been studying images of TRAPPIST-1 and its planets from the Hubble Telescope and found three of the planets could have water on the surface.Related articles
GETTYTRAPPIST-1 solar system
By analysing images of the planets, the scientists were able to determine how much free-floating hydrogen was in the atmosphere and how intense the star’s Ultra Violet radiation is. The weaker it is, the more likely that water could be on the planets.
Team leader Vincent Bourrier from the Observatoire de l’Université de Genève explained: “Ultraviolet radiation is an important factor in the atmospheric evolution of planets.