The recent press conference by NASA regarding the discovery of an extraordinary find within our own galaxy. This discovery is known as Trappists-1 or the ultra-cool dwarf star that is located 39.5 years from the sun in the constellation Aquarius.
As of February 2017, this star system shows to hold 7 terrestrial planets, larger than that previously recorded. Astronomers first discovered three Earth sized planets around the dwarf star in 2015, by using the Transiting Planets and planetesimals small telescope (Trappist-1). By using the NASA’s spitzer space telescope and among others, astronomers were able to discover another 4 planets orbiting the star system. From these 7 planters, 3 planets are said to be within the habitable zone of its solar system and may be capable of holding liquid water.
The planets have around the same masas as Earth and Venus.
Getting to Trappist-1
The distance from us to Trappist-1 is 369 Trillion Kilometers. Taking 39 years to get there if we were travelling at the speed of light. It would take Voyager-1, the most distant spacecraft sent by humans, that has left the solar system, 625,000 years to get there .
NASA’s space shuttle, that has a maximum speed of 28000 km/h would take 1.5 million years to reach the star system.
An ultrafast spacecraft that could reach TRAPPIST-1 in a much shorter time span is an interstellar space craft designed by Stephen Hawking.
Hawking's tiny, laser-propelled probes could theoretically fly as fast as 20 percent of the speed of light, or 134 million mph (216 million km/h). That's about 4,000 times faster than NASA's record-breaking New Horizons spacecraft! A spacecraft that fast could travel 39 light-years in less than 200 years. However this is still only a concept and has not been created yet.
With today’s technology, it is impossible for us to get to the Trappist-1 system within a life span. NASA predicts that it will take at least 800,000 years before mankind reaches for Trappist-1. However the discovery of the planet opens up doors that we have never seen, what else does the universe hold that we cannot see. One thing many can say is that this universe is not just ours, there is excitement that Trump could be preparing to launch another manned mission to the Moon. The art of space exploration has ironically slowed as our technology has advanced.