Living in another world

Possible alien lifeform on seven newly discovered planets

Binqi Chen, Editorials Editor

For decades, scientists have been looking into outer space in search of Earth-like exoplanets. Hundreds of expeditions have been conducted not only in our own solar system, but orbits hundreds of light-years away. The primary purpose of this endless search is to find possible life forms.

Even though most of the finds have been in vain, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has made an incredible discovery.

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven relatively similar to Earth-sized planets orbiting around a single star located in a solar system 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth.

Currently, the exoplanet system is labeled TRAPPIST-1; its namesake comes from Chile’s Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope. The center of this solar system is a dwarf star, sizing in at about Jupiter’s dimensions.

This new discovery presents a great leap in finding extraterrestrial life as the closer a planet’s size is to Earth’s, the higher of a possibility that it would be able to inhabit life. Not only is the possibility of uncovering alien life present in this situation, but also the chance that these planets can someday sustain human life.

Due to the deteriorating state of Earth’s environment, scientists are desperately looking for other planets that could carry on the human race. NASA is already calculating and estimating the conditions in the solar system for possible habitable planets.

Another extraordinary aspect of this finding is that since the 1990s, there have only been 18 Earth like planets ever discovered out of the total 3,600 known planets outside our solar system.

Prior to the revealing of the seven planets, NASA and other space organizations around the world have been focusing on exploration of Mars and this finding could certainly push the range of investigation.

NASA is one of not only America’s, but the entire world’s greatest science and space agencies in the world. Their discoveries should be taken seriously and we should all be cheering on and supporting NASA in their pursuit in gathering more evidence about these seven planets.

However, there has been issues rising in regards to NASA’s continuous decrease in funding. The federal budget has been supplying NASA less and less government support.

This can seriously hinder research and exploration as advanced scientific technology is becoming more expensive and more manpower is required to ensure the efficiency of the agency.

There may be some possible progress though, as both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously voted on the bill which ensures that $19.5 billion of the national budget is provided to NASA.

The success in passing the bill in Congress has shown that the importance of space exploration and education can no longer be a partisan issue. It simply is not up for debate anymore. Both Democrats and Republicans, even from the farthest end of the political spectrum, have shown their support.

This is the first time in seven years that NASA has asked for a major legislative change. The bill will be hitting the Oval Office for the President to sign. Hopefully, the POTUS will be making the right decision in approving the bill.

We need space exploration now more than ever now. The terrible effects of pollution have led to global warming and the extinction of both organisms and resources. We need to find another place where humans can live.