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The chances that several exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 system could be habitable have been boosted by new measurements that push the envelope of what exoplanet science can do with today’s telescopes.

The TRAPPIST-1 system is just 39.6 light-years away and comprises seven small worlds that orbit a lone red dwarf star. The inner three worlds were discovered in 2016 by astronomers using the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The outer four planets were spotted a year later and it is it is possible that all seven worlds could potentially be habitable.

Now, new results have narrowed down the masses of the planets, confirming that they are all likely to be rocky, without the extended atmospheres that miniature versions of Uranus and Neptune would have. Furthermore, all seven planets have densities that suggest a significant amount of water, which is vital for life as we know it.

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Category: Science