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NASA’s new discovery leads to big questions about life on other planets

This+is+a+NASA+artist%27s+conception+of+the+planets.+According+to+NASA%27s+website%2C+three+of+the+planets+are+in+an+area+where+water+may+exist.
This is a NASA artist's conception of the planets. According to NASA's website, three of the planets are in an area where water may exist.

This is a NASA artist's conception of the planets. According to NASA's website, three of the planets are in an area where water may exist.

Courtesy of NASA website

Courtesy of NASA website

This is a NASA artist's conception of the planets. According to NASA's website, three of the planets are in an area where water may exist.

Samantha Cepeda, Reporter

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NASA recently made a life changing discovery. According to an online article from CNN, seven new planets are orbiting around a small star outside the solar system. These new findings bring up the question, “Are we alone?”

To think we’re alone is absolutely ridiculous. You look up at the sky and see all the different stars and knowing almost every star has it’s own planets you just think about all the different possibilities of life there could be.”

— Natalie Rehak

The discovery on February 22 also revealed that the diameters of these planets are similar to that of Earth. An article on Newsela’s website says that at the center of this system is a star named TRAPPIST 1. Although it’s smaller and not as warm as our sun, this discovery is important because the planets circling it might hold water, and water is the key to life. Scientists aren’t sure if there’s air on the planets, but they’ll be looking at the possibility very closely.  

“When I first found out I thought it was really interesting. My husband was very amazed and continues to follow up with it. To think we’re alone is absolutely ridiculous,” science teacher Natalie Rehak said. “You look up at the sky and see all the different stars and knowing almost every star has its own planets you just think about all the different possibilities of life there could be.”

The idea of water on these newly discovered plants is intriguing for Rehak.

“Scientists definitely know a lot but don’t release the information to the public because of the whole concept of religion,” Rehak said. “We’re brought up to believe that God created only us, so for scientists to say otherwise would cause an outbreak. People would lose it. Knowing already that there’s said to have oceans on these planets just like we do is a sign that some kind of life is able to survive there whether it’s a whole civilization or even a single cell organism.”

Astronomy teacher Jennifer Broekman said she personally believes that if it is true and there are earth-like oceans on some of these planets, that there definitely is a possibility of life.

If there are oceans, I think life is likely. I would be more surprised to see strong evidence of liquid water oceans without any evidence of life ever having existed there. However, getting that evidence at a distance of 40 light years is incredibly difficult,” Broekman stated.

 

 

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The student news site of Emerson Junior - Senior High School
NASA’s new discovery leads to big questions about life on other planets