The promising exoplanet TRAPPIST-1b has no atmosphere and therefore no life | Science
The Earth-sized exoplanet TRAPPIST-1b has no atmosphere. This means that there can be no water and therefore no life. Astronomers are now pinning their hopes for extraterrestrial life on the other six rocky planets orbiting the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.
The discovery was made with the James Webb Space Telescope. Some astronomers expected a thick atmosphere. But James Webb’s infrared eyes found no evidence of such an atmosphere. This means that the planet is not protected against cosmic rays.
1b is the closest planet to TRAPPIST-1; much closer than Earth to the Sun. Moreover, the planet always faces its star from the same side. Still, it was thought there might be life on the planet, as the red dwarf star is much fainter than our sun. But without an atmosphere, it can still reach 230 degrees on the light side.
Scientists still hope that the other planets in the solar system are habitable. Three of the seven planets are in the habitable zone of their star. This means that in theory water can flow and there can be life.
Great success in the hunt for extraterrestrial life
NASA calls the mission a success anyway. Never before had a telescope been able to capture radiation from such a small, distant planet. According to the space agency, this is very promising for the future search for other exoplanets.
In 2017, astronomers discovered that TRAPPIST-1 had up to seven Earth-like planets. This has made the solar system, located 40 light years from Earth, very interesting for astronomers looking for extraterrestrial life.
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