All seven roughly match the size and mass of our own planet and three are perfectly perched to harbour life-nurturing oceans of water, they reported in the journal Nature. Most critically, their proximity to Earth and the dimness of their red dwarf star, called Trappist-1, will allow astronomers to parse each one’s atmosphere in search of chemical signatures of biological activity.
“We have made a crucial step towards finding life out there,” said co-author Amaury Triaud, a scientist at the University of Cambridge. “Up to now, I don’t think we have had the right planets to find out,” he said in a press briefing. “Now we have the right target.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2017.