Saturday, 25 March 2017 23:18

LIFE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT Nasa says TRAPPIST-1 solar system could be teeming with ‘exotic’ alien lifeforms

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Stargazers suggest radiation-proof extraterrestrials are 'thriving under skies of ruddy twilight' on distant worlds

TOP Nasa stargazers have claimed a newly discovered solar system could be teeming with alien life.

The space agency stunned the world this week when it said seven planets had been spotted orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1.

Artist’s concept of TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star, and the seven Earth-size planets orbiting it

Now its top scientists are trying to work out whether these worlds are abundant with extraterrestrial beings – or as dead as a terrestrial doorknob.

Nasa boffins suggested the planets “could harbour exotic lifeforms, thriving under skies of ruddy twilight”.

However, they could also be be barren wastelands because their parent star is a red dwarf, a relatively cool type of sun that could wipe out early lifeforms before they have a chance to evolve into sentient beings.

“A bumper crop of Earth-size planets huddled around an ultra-cool, red dwarf star could be little more than chunks of rock blasted by radiation, or cloud-covered worlds as broiling hot as Venus,” Nasa warned.

Three Earth-like planets were found to be orbiting the habitable zone around a star known as Trappist 1

Three Earth-like planets were found to be orbiting the habitable zone around a star known as Trappist 1

An artist's conception of what the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f may look like, based on available data about its diameter, mass and distances from the host star

An artist's conception of what the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f may look like, based on available data about its diameter, mass and distances from the host star

"Recent findings suggest life would have an uphill battle on a planet close to a red dwarf, largely because such stars are extremely active in their early years - shooting off potentially lethal flares and bursts of radiation," Nasa wrote.

Yet this might not entirely rule out the possibility that life exists on one of the planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1.

Tom Barclay, a senior research scientist at the NASA Ames Research Centre, suggested life can often bounce back from disasters.

Organism living on the radiation-riddled worlds could also have evolved to cope with conditions which will kill earthbound lifeforms.

Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2944894/nasa-says-trappist-1-solar-system-could-be-teeming-with-exotic-alien-lifeforms/

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