At a NASA press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the space agency announced that astronomers have discovered an amazing seven Earth-like planets orbiting a nearby star.
The bountiful find constitutes the highest number of such worlds to be seen circling the same celestial center aside from our own solar system, of course.
All of the planets were described as being temperate and, thus, potentially possessing water.
Additionally, three of the seven worlds appear to sit in the vaunted ‘Goldilocks zone’ where it is believed that conditions are ideal for life to exist.
The central star in question, dubbed ‘Trappist-1,’ sits 40 light years away from the Earth which is an incredible distance but one that may someday be surmountable as space travel technology advances.
For now, though, astronomers hope to examine the planets’ atmosphere in the hopes of finding indications of some kind of life on those worlds.
At Wednesday’s press conference, one of the astronomers on the research team marveled that “we’ve made a crucial step towards finding if there is life out there.”
Considering the vast array of exoplanets discovered so far and the growing number of worlds which have been found to be possible sources for life in the universe, it would appear that, indeed, the search is picking up tremendous steam.
That said, as our observational skills improve at a rate far faster than our ability to explore space, humans may someday find ourselves knowing that we are not alone but incapable of taking the proverbial next step of making contact.
Looking around the world today, some might say that’s for the best.