The Herald reports:
Life may have evolved on at least three planets in a newly discovered solar system just 39 light years from Earth, NASA has announced.
Astronomers have detected no less than seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1.
The six inner planets lie in a temperate zone where surface temperatures range from zero to 100C.
Of these, at least three are thought to be capable of having oceans, increasing the likelihood of life.
No other star system known contains such a large number of Earth-sized and probably rocky planets.
As a former astronomy geek, this is very exciting.
British astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, from Liverpool John Moores University, who co-led the international team, said: “The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this amazing system an exciting future target in the search for life.”
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, says: “This gives us a hint that finding a second earth is not just a matter of if, but when.
“You can just imagine how many worlds are out there that could have a habitable ecosystem that we can explore.”
Now we just need to invent faster than light travel, so we can get to them!