As longtime readers of this blog know, this is one of my favorite topics. Who might be out there beyond the little dust speck on which we spin, here in the rural part of our own galaxy?
(And when I despair about the fights we have on our globe, I enjoy musing about how quickly we would unite if we felt threatened by aliens as most broadly defined.)
Seven Earth-size planets where there could be life have been identified orbiting a tiny star named Trappist-1 about 40 light-years, or 235 trillion miles, from Earth. That’s close by in cosmic terms, notes The New York Times.
This is our "first realistic opportunity to search for signs of alien life outside the solar system,” the Times says.
“The Trappist-1 planets make the search for life in the galaxy imminent,” says Sara Seager, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “For the first time ever, we don’t have to speculate. We just have to wait and then make very careful observations and see what is in the atmospheres of the Trappist planets.”