Some of TRAPPIST-1’s planets could have life-friendly atmospheres | Science News

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Some of TRAPPIST-1’s planets could have life-friendly atmospheres

One in particular looks a lot like Earth

By
11:00am, February 5, 2018
illustration of two inner TRAPPIST-1 planets

PEERING THROUGH THE MIST  Starlight filtering through the atmospheres of the planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1 (shown here in an artist’s illustration of the two innermost worlds) can give scientists a clue to the planets’ habitability. Scientists have now probed the atmospheres of the four middle planets, which could be well-suited for life.

It’s still too early to pack your bags for TRAPPIST-1. But two new studies probe the likely compositions of the seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting the cool, dim star, and some are looking better and better as places to live (SN: 3/18/17, p. 6).

New mass measurements suggest that the septet probably have rocky surfaces and possibly thin atmospheres, researchers report February 5 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. For at least three of the planets, those atmospheres don’t appear to be too hot for life, many of these same researchers conclude February 5 in Nature Astronomy.

TRAPPIST-1 is about 40 light-years from Earth, and four of its

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