BSU And University Of Washington Part Of The Search For Life On Nearby Planets

Apr 6, 2017

Scientists from Boise State University and the University of Washington are studying a newly found group of planets around a nearby star. They’ll talk about their research Friday night in Boise. Turns out, these planets are good candidates for hosting life outside Earth.

Brian Jackson from BSU and Rory Barnes from the University of Washington are working with the NASA Astrobiology Institute to study the planets around a star 40-light years from Earth, in a system called Trappist -1. That’s not too far from us. Seven planets circle the tiny star and as many as five of them could be in the right spot, or “habitable zone” to support life. The system is in the Aquarius constellation.

Barnes says the Trappist -1 star will burn for more than one trillion years. That, and it’s nearness to Earth, mean the system is a possible candidate for human relocation. Our sun will burn up in one to two billion years, which means Earthlings will have to find a new planet. He speculates other lifeforms may have already had that idea and moved there.

“This is a good place to look for life just because it might be an ideal setting for it to live for a very long period of time without having to move to another star,” says Barnes.

Barnes and Jackson will talk about their research on the Trappist-1 system Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Boise State Multipurpose Building.

Here's the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's take on Trappist-1:

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio