Possibly life-friendly worlds orbiting TRAPPIST-1 fuel debate about what makes a habitable planet
Discoveries of planets around distant stars have become almost routine. But finding seven exoplanets in one go is something special. In February, a team of planet seekers announced that a small, cool star some 39 light-years away, TRAPPIST-1, hosts the most Earth-sized exoplanets yet found in one place: seven roughly Earth-sized worlds, at least three of which might host liquid water (SN: 3/18/17, p. 6).
These worlds instantly became top priorities in the search for life outside the solar system. “TRAPPIST-1 is on everybody’s wish list,” says exoplanet astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger of Cornell University. But the planets and their dim star have also stoked a