TLDR: What exactly did NASA find out there?

February 22, 2017

On Tuesday, NASA announced a cryptic press conference for the following day to make an announcement about a "discovery beyond our solar system."

What could they have found? Life? Star Wars was really a documentary? A THIRD Death Star?

No, No, and maybe, but would they tell us? 

What did they find?
To put it simply, NASA discovered seven “Earth-size” planets orbiting a star in a near(ish) solar system and all of them could have liquid water, which could mean life.

Of the seven, there are three  in the “habitable zone” of the system they are calling TRAPPIST-1, named for the telescope in Chile which was used to discover the system.

Aliens, bro?
Maybe, bro! According to the NASA press release, all seven exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) could have water under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the “habitable zone.”

Water is the key to life as we know it. All I’m saying is that life, uh... finds a way.

Then again, it’s entirely possible that NASA knows there are aliens, but the aliens are either A. super lame or B. super dangerous. Between this and the ISS crew taking a super-virus to space, I’m not totally convinced we aren’t already engaged in a hyperspace war or trying to wipe out foreign alien civilizations with deadly bacteria. This is 100 percent conspiracy theory and I have been watching too much science fiction.

Someone call Alex Jones.

What are the planets like?
They rock…lol. Sorry, I'll stop. 

Based on the space agency’s estimates, all of the planets are likely quite rocky. All of the planets discovered are closer to their sun than Mercury, our system’s inner-most planet, is to our sun. That’s because the TRAPPIST-1 sun is an “ultra-cool dwarf.”

It’s Gimli with sunglasses and gold chains. No really, that's the last one. 

The sun is basically way colder than ours, which allows the exoplanets to remain habitable despite their closeness, and more importantly, water to potentially appear in liquid form.

Not only are the planets close to their sun, they are close to each other, if you were standing on one planet, you could potentially see features and even weather systems on nearby planets.

Can we go there?
Yeah, it's just a 235 trillion mile Uber ride away. That’s 40 lightyears. In 2015, U.S. drivers traveled a combined three trillion miles, to put that in perspective.

Voyager-1 satellite (the most distant spacecraft from Earth), which travels 38,610 mph, would take roughly 709,560 years* to get from Earth to TRAPPIST-1. The Voyager left Earth in 1998. Only 709,541 years to go (if it were headed in the right direction)!

Now if we could only figure out light speed…

TL;DR: Nasa found a bunch of Earth-size exoplanets really far away that could have water, which could support life.

*This is based on math done by me, not NASA. I took exactly one college chemistry class and one college math class. Are you reading this from NASA HQ? Tweet me if you want to know how much I charge for doing math. I could be of service.

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