Scientists just announced that they’ve found several more Earth-like planets that could possibly sustain human life.
Just 20 years ago, scientists thought only the Sun had planets orbiting it. Since then, scientists have learned that there’s around five thousand planets that are about the size of Earth’s and that every star in the galaxy has planets that orbit around it.
According to the new study published in Nature, after six years, scientists have found at least seven Earth-like planets—meaning small-ish, rocky and orbiting their star at the optimal distance for water to exist—just 39 light years away, which is very close.
Theoretically all seven planets could sustain life, but that’s no indicator of if they do.
“The planets form a very compact system,” Michael Gillon, one of the leaders of the research, told reporters. “They are very close to their star and are reminiscent of the system of moons that orbit Jupiter. They could have liquid water and life.”
Scientists wouldn’t be able to send spacecraft to find out if there was life on the planets because in the best case scenario, it would take 39 years just to get there. Telescopes instead would do the work and look for a mixture of chemicals in the atmosphere that’s close to Earth’s.