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Scientists Just Found The First Evidence That The Trappist-1 System Might Contain Water

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posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 03:11 PM
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An international team of scientists have been looking at the Trappist-1 System using the Hubble Space Telescope's Imaging Spectograph to look at levels of ultraviolet radiation hitting the system's planets and deduce the prospect for the planets retaining their water.

The result of the teams study leads them to believe that although the two inner most planets , Trappist-1b and Trappist-1c , would have lost their water due to ultraviolet radiation bombarding their atmospheres three planets in the habitable zone , Trappist-1e, Trappist-1f, and Trappist-1g , would have lost less water and are likely to still have water remaining on their surfaces and in their atmospheres.

"Ultraviolet radiation is an important factor in the atmospheric evolution of planets," Bourrier explained in a press release. "As in our own atmosphere, where ultraviolet sunlight breaks molecules apart, ultraviolet starlight can break water vapor in the atmospheres of exoplanets into hydrogen and oxygen."
Using the STIS, the researchers could detect any escaped hydrogen gas around the atmosphere of each planet, which helped them determine the likelihood of atmospheric water vapor.


Their findings indicate that the two innermost planets, designated Trappist-1b and Trappist-1c, could have lost vast amounts of water as a result of ultraviolet radiation - as much as 20 Earth-oceans-worth over the last 8 billion years. However, that isn't the case for the other planets in the system.
The researchers believe the five remaining planets, including the three in the system's habitable zone - Trappist-1e, Trappist-1f, and Trappist-1g - have each lost much less water than the innermost planets and might still have some water remaining on their surfaces.

Calculated water loss rates and geophysical water release rates back up this theory, but scientists have no way to know for sure that the planets contain water using just the available telescopes and data.


According to Bourrier, "While our results suggest that the outer planets are the best candidates to search for water with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, they also highlight the need for theoretical studies and complementary observations at all wavelengths to determine the nature of the TRAPPIST-1 planets and their potential habitability."
www.sciencealert.com...

Just another piece to the puzzle but as time passes the picture becomes clearer , the prospect for life is everywhere.

edit on 3-9-2017 by gortex because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 03:53 PM
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originally posted by: gortex
An international team of scientists have been looking at the Trappist-1 System using the Hubble Space Telescope's Imaging Spectograph to look at levels of ultraviolet radiation hitting the system's planets and deduce the prospect for the planets retaining their water.

The result of the teams study leads them to believe that although the two inner most planets , Trappist-1b and Trappist-1c , would have lost their water due to ultraviolet radiation bombarding their atmospheres three planets in the habitable zone , Trappist-1e, Trappist-1f, and Trappist-1g , would have lost less water and are likely to still have water remaining on their surfaces and in their atmospheres.

"Ultraviolet radiation is an important factor in the atmospheric evolution of planets," Bourrier explained in a press release. "As in our own atmosphere, where ultraviolet sunlight breaks molecules apart, ultraviolet starlight can break water vapor in the atmospheres of exoplanets into hydrogen and oxygen."
Using the STIS, the researchers could detect any escaped hydrogen gas around the atmosphere of each planet, which helped them determine the likelihood of atmospheric water vapor.


Their findings indicate that the two innermost planets, designated Trappist-1b and Trappist-1c, could have lost vast amounts of water as a result of ultraviolet radiation - as much as 20 Earth-oceans-worth over the last 8 billion years. However, that isn't the case for the other planets in the system.
The researchers believe the five remaining planets, including the three in the system's habitable zone - Trappist-1e, Trappist-1f, and Trappist-1g - have each lost much less water than the innermost planets and might still have some water remaining on their surfaces.

Calculated water loss rates and geophysical water release rates back up this theory, but scientists have no way to know for sure that the planets contain water using just the available telescopes and data.


According to Bourrier, "While our results suggest that the outer planets are the best candidates to search for water with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, they also highlight the need for theoretical studies and complementary observations at all wavelengths to determine the nature of the TRAPPIST-1 planets and their potential habitability."
www.sciencealert.com...

Just another piece to the puzzle but as time passes the picture becomes clearer , the prospect for life is everywhere.


A bit confusing at first though, it seems on the one hand it's a novel theory, and needing more theoretical studies in all wavelengths to find out more about those planets potentials..for water, well...amongst other things as well.
edit on 3-9-2017 by smurfy because: Text.



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 04:10 PM
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That's a rather awkward interpretation.

All I am reading is that they've calculated the uv radiation levels for the planets. Which would show that the two inner planets would not be able to hold water, assuming they had any to begin with.



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 04:50 AM
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a reply to: moebius

That makes sense. From what I understand, the Trappist system is a more close in affair than our own system, with planets being generally closer to the host star, than their counterparts in our own solar system. In our solar system, for example, mercury is too close to the sun to have liquid of pretty much any kind on its surface, from what I understand of it.

Venus is capable of maintaining liquids in its atmosphere, but as we know they are not of the sort which is conducive to maintaining the kind of life we can recognise as being any such thing. Its only when you get as far out as the third planet of our system, that liquid water at the surface becomes a possibility to take note of, although it is said that Venus may once have been like Earth with respect to its potential to have once carried water. Either way, that possibility is rather more about the mists of time than the present day.

It makes sense, therefore, that the two closest planets to the star in the Trappist system, would be less capable of carrying water as a result of proximity. The main question now becomes, do the other planets, those further out, actually have the necessary conditions for the presence of water. Of course, that is assuming that one subscribes to the "We should only pay attention to a thing if it reminds us of home" theory of space exploration, rather than the "We need to get close to any and all objects we can identify, in order that we learn as much information that exists about them, rather than basing our willingness to travel a distance, on some feeble notion of value. The value is in the learning, not the resources we might discover." method of discovery.



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 04:58 AM
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Yea humans, of course you're not rare or unique.

Get used to it



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 05:45 AM
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WTH are you doin, why are you guys discussing the
closer planets... ?!?!?
Its the ones in da zone that are interesting right?!??



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 06:03 AM
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a reply to: Miccey

Thats the problem with long distance space exploration.

The answer, is rather emphatically NO!

Let me explain. Miccey, we only have anything like extensive data, on the planets in our own solar system. We know that life in this system, SO FAR, has only been discovered on this one, particular planet, in this one particular set of circumstances, with regard to the stability of its orbit, rate of revolution, its distance from its star, the presence of a magnetosphere issued from within our planet...

We know that this works, this here, works fine for life as we know it. But what we know about life in the universe is absolutely minimal, when compared with the size of the universe itself. For all we know there are lifeforms which do not require to breathe, but instead live exclusively off of energetic output from nearby stars, or creatures which would go totally unrecognised by us if we visited their worlds, because they look like simple rocks and never move, or creatures which ply the voids between stars, suckling on whatever random flotsam and jetsam is left behind after planetary collisions, not in ships, but as a whale passes through the ocean.

Those things are, as far as we yet know, unlikely. But until we have been to every rock we can see from here, and every rock we can see from the next rock out, and every solar system ever found by any telescope ever, and then traveled yet again beyond those to realms far more distant than we can resolve in any useful magnification, we can say NOTHING of what the UNIVERSE requires in order for life to exist in a region of it. We can only say that life as we would recongise it now, with our limited understanding and experience of the universe and life itself, can only exist in this narrow, rigid model that we erect every time we herald the notion of a habitable zone.
edit on 4-9-2017 by TrueBrit because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 08:26 AM
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They key words were WATER....

So i forgive you for the brainfreeze above brit...

LIFE as we know it ONLY exist here...
And i have some serious doubts that we will
EVER find life that is exactly like us...

But as i said, the INTERESTING planets are the ones
IN DA ZONE...

See, we have some solid theories about the needs
for water on planets... And the inner ones can be
excluded. Since the we KNOW carbon based life
LIKE US, water is essential... And as far as we
KNOW, the ones in the zone are the ones we
should focus on...

Hmmm getting some derailing vibes here....



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 09:03 AM
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a reply to: Miccey

Not at all.

The point here is this:

We keep looking for water here and there, because its presence means that life we would recognise, might be present, past, or in the future of a given rock in space, aside from any benefits it might have as reaction mass of some sort, to future travel. Its safe to say that the primary focus of the search for water, is actually the search for life or the conditions necessary to support it, and by that token, it is ridiculous. The universe is too large for us to assume that conditions on other worlds could not have come about, which lead to life coming into being which bares NO similarity to that of our planets life forms, what so ever. And yet we focus on how OUR life started, on the necessary components for that, including water. Why?

Because we are narrow minded. The really interesting thing about the Trappist system, is that it exists, that it has planets upon which we might reasonably be able to land a craft, were we able to traverse the distance between here and there. It need be no more interesting than that, to prompt an exploration effort, any more than Mars has to be any more interesting than it is, in order to make going there a worthwhile venture, again, when propulsion can reduce the trip time from months to days, or better.

Our priorities are wrong, is all I am saying. Its not an attempt to derail, its just a reminder to folks to quit obsessing over water and its presence or lack thereof, as much as we do at the moment.



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 02:02 PM
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Well water IS essential to US...
And IF we were to travel anywere in space to
ANY kind of rock i for sure, would like to be
able to take a shower when i arrive...

BUT, thats NOT the point...
The op is about scanning other world for signs
that resemble or at least kinda looks like ours.
And looking at the inner planets are moot...
Bonkers, insane.

Focus should be at the the ones IN DA ZONE




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