This has been a good week to be a nerd. Yesterday, NASA announced that its Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-sized planets around a single star. That parent star was bestowed the name TRAPPIST-1 and is an ultra-cool dwarf star, about 1/10 the size of our sun, and is roughly 39 light-years away (or around 230 trillion miles). Of the seven planets, three of them are located in the habitable zone, which is the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The three “habitable zone” planets are TRAPPIST-1 E, F, and G in the diagram below. Planet E has a year comprised of 6.1 days, F has 9.21 days, and G has 12.35 days.
“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”
No word from the President* if there will be an official illegal alien travel ban.
In other space news, SpaceX launched a cargo ship to deliver supplies and experiments to the International Space Station. The Falcon Dragon (kudos to the naming team) cargo ship arrived earlier Thursday, a day after its initial arrival, because of a data glitch with its GPS system. But the real star of the show was the landing of its Falcon 9 rocket.
This was the tenth resupply service mission SpaceX is facilitating for NASA.
Lastly, Auralnauts have compiled nearly 15 minutes of footage replacing the beeping, robot swearing, and screaming of R2-D2 with dialogue from Star Wars: A New Hope and the result is a thing of beauty.
With the success of this video, here’s hoping the Auralnauts continue to voice R2-D2 for the rest of the cinematic saga. And maybe give BB-8 a voice, too.