The discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets found orbiting a single star has caused bookies to cut the odds of finding alien life by twenty percent.
Nasa announced the discovery of the Trappist-1 system earlier this week, and said that three of the planets orbited the star in the so-called “Goldilocks zone”, where scientists believe conditions could be ‘just right’ support life – not too hot or too cold.
Based on their densities, all of the Trappist-1 planets are likely to be rocky, and further observation will alow scientists to determine whether they are rich in water and possibly also whether they have liquid water on their surfaces.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington commented:
“Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”
Around one-fifth of stars similar to Earth’s sun are thought to have at least one earth-sized planet in their habitable zones, and this has led scientists to estimate that there may be as many as 40 billion habitable worlds in our galaxy.
The discovery of three possible homes for extraterrestrial life in the relatively nearby Trappist-1 system has led bookies to slash their odds on alien life being proven within the next few years.
Katie Baylis, Spokesperson for Betfair, said:
“This is a major breakthrough in the search for life outside of earth and while there is still much work to be done by scientists, the news has seen the odds of alien life form being proven this year alone cut from 40/1 to 33/1. In 2018 those odds have gone from 33/1 to 25/1 and in 2019 20/1 from 25/1.”