NASA’s giant space telescope has found a number of planets that may well be suitable for life.
Experts have gotten their first look at seven planets orbiting its sun, known as TRAPPIST-1.
But don’t pack your bags just yet, the group is 39 light-years from Earth.
The space agency’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was able to spot them and found some fascinating details.
Most notably, they are in the star’s habitable zone, where liquid water may exist.
This is of course one of the most important things a planet needs to support living organisms.
It’s too early to know for sure, but scientists expect they’ll have a better idea in the months and years to come, thanks to James Webb’s incredible ability to spot things we’ve never seen in space before .
This includes things like carbon dioxide or methane, which is also a big clue.
The seven planets are all closer than Mercury to the sun, the closest planet in our solar system.
But TRAPPIST-1 is pretty cool for a star.
They are also much smaller planets.
“We’re in business,” says Björn Benneke, an astronomer at the University of Montreal Nature.
Knicole Colón, an astronomer at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center who is not involved in the work, commented: “We needed that first look to know what we were dealing with.
“Within the next year we will have a family portrait.”
James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25, 2021.
It’s the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope and costs around $10 billion (£7.3 billion).
JWST is currently orbiting the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2), which is about 930,000 miles from Earth towards Mars.
There, the telescope scans the night sky for faint infrared light that could be visible from the first generation of stars and galaxies.
It has already uncovered some extraordinary sights.
In July, US President Joe Biden unveiled the deepest and sharpest infrared image ever taken with the telescope of the distant Universe.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9909322/nasa-trappist-1-solar-system-habitable/ Nasa telescope discovers ‘7-planet solar system’ that could have habitable worlds – and all of them have Earth-like features