Back in February 2017, scientists got really excited when they discovered the TRAPPIST-1 star system that was found to be hosting seven temperate terrestrial planets. Among those seven planets, three near Earth-sized planets were found to be revolving in the habitable zone of the TRAPPIST-1 star system.
A new study has revealed that alien life might be possible in those seven planets that are orbiting the TRAPPIST-1 system which is situated just 39.6 light years away from the Sun. For the study, the scientists from Harvard and Princeton ran an analytical model to know more about the atmosphere of those seven nearly Earth-sized planets. Presence of atmosphere is a prerequisite for the planets to have any chance of supporting life.
The atmosphere on a planet saves it from the harmful solar radiations that might reach the surface. But the main problem is the stellar winds coming out from parent star system. These stellar winds can eat up all the atmosphere of a planet. The stellar winds are a blast of fast-moving charged particles that travel at a speed of about 1000 miles per hour. Hence, the scientists associated with the latest study eagerly wanted to know what kind of stellar winds the TRAPPIST-1 solar system and what are its possible effects on the seven planets. Specifically, the scientists were interested in the TRAPPIST-1 e, f and g planets that are located in the habitable zone or the Goldilocks zone of the star yet. According to the scientists, a planet moving in the habitable zone of its parent star might possess liquid water on its surface.
After running the analytical model, the scientists discovered that the seven temperate planets might be having atmospheres of their own. The researchers said in a statement that the presence of an atmosphere over sufficiently long timescales is widely perceived as one of the most prominent criteria associated with planetary surface habitability. This indicates about the possibility. The researchers further wrote that they have concluded from the study that the outer planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system are capable of retaining their atmospheres over billion-year timescales. “However in light of the many unknowns and assumptions involved, we recommend that these conclusions must be interpreted with due caution,” the researchers informed. From the above study, it can be said that there is a slight possibility that the seven planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system may host alien life inside them.