tech2 News Staff Jan 25, 2018 11:04 AM IST
The TRAPPIST-1 solar system has been subjected to a lot of scrutiny and debate on whether it has planets with conditions suitable for extra-terrestrial life. Now a new research has claimed that there are two planets in this solar system which are positioned in the same manner as Earth and Mars.
Out of the 7 Earth-sized exoplanets closely orbiting a star, 40 light-years away from the Earth, scientists had already predicted that a handful of them could be present in the Goldilocks zone (habitable zone) of the star.
According to an IBT report, this new discovery published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics pinpoints the third and fourth Earth-like exoplanets out of the seven called TRAPPIST-1d and TRAPPIST-1e.
These two planets are, however, much closer to their star than the Earth and Mars are to the Sun. Despite their close proximity, these two exoplanets are believed to be cooler as the star they orbit is small in comparison to the Sun.
The conclusion of habitability was derived by the researchers after carefully studying the orbits, temperatures and possibly compositions of the two planets.
“Assuming the planets are composed of water ice, rock and iron, we determine how much of each might be present, and how thick the different layers would be," said researcher Amy Barr in a statement from the Planetary Science Institute.
The research says that TRAPPIST-1d and TRAPPIST-1e are most likely to be habitable due to the increased temperatures created by the energy from their gravitational forces.
There is also a third Earth-like planet that was discovered some time back and may be covered in an ocean, according to the research. The other planets in TRAPPIST-1 are at extreme ends of the temperature scale, with the first two planets having a surface of molten rocks and magma while the last three being icy-cold.
Scientists have predicted early on that the TRAPPIST-1 is older than our solar system and has therefore had enough time to mature life on it.
The possibility of TRAPPIST-1d and TRAPPIST-1e having extra-terrestrial life could be dented by the fact that the TRAPPIST-1 star might have “frequent flares" which might result in radiation damage and atmospheric erosion.