Over last couple of months, news related to TRAPPIST-1 have been pretty regular as scientists are trying to understand the planets’ atmosphere. Recently, a group of scientists who were studying the planets’ compositions, revealed that some of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 star system might contain as much as 250 times more water than Earth’s oceans.
The recent news comes as a group of researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland tried to understand what each planet in the star system might look like. As the planets in the star system are closer to each other, they can shift each other’s orbits. Simon Grimm from the University of Bern said in a statement, “In the TRAPPIST-1 system, the planets are so close together that they perturb each other. This causes a slight shift in the times of each transit.”
After simulating these planets’ changing orbit, the group calculated the planets’ individual densities and compositions. The results revealed that five of the planets from the star system might contain 250 more waters than Earth’s. Brice-Olivier Demory added, “We were able to measure precisely the density of exoplanets that are similar to Earth in terms of their size, mass and irradiation, with an uncertainty of less than 10 percent, which is a first and a decisive step in the characterization of potential habitability.”
While we still have a long way to go before we can consider sending spacecraft in the system, the latest study reveals that we have much to learn about TRAPPIST-1’s characteristics. However, as several projects such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope are planned to learn more about alien worlds, we are likely to know more about exoplanets’ atmosphere in the coming years.