Article by Sarah Pickett | esPResso Staff Writer

The world takes to social media after an intriguing discovery about outer space is made. On February 22, it was revealed by NASA that seven new earth-like planets were found. Researchers deem this to be a significant study because it marks the first time this number of planets have been found surrounding the same star. Further, three of the planets are located in the habitual zone and all of the planets potentially hold liquid water.

Researchers made the discovery through use of NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. This group of planets is said to be 40 light years away in a compacted formation around an ultracool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. According to Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington “This discovery could be a significant piece in finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life.

After the announcement at a news briefing in Washington, NASA took to twitter asking for names for the new planets. This sparked a series of tweets from the public of suggestions for the seven planets. Inspiration for the names stemmed from popular television shows, our newest world leader and movie franchises. The hashtag #7NamesFor7NewPlanets was used in the Tweets.

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Not only was twitter flooding with commentary on the discovery of the new planets, Facebook got in on the action as well. Facebook users were excited about the possibility of life outside of earth. The day the news broke it became one of the top trends on the social media platform with videos, pictures and status updates. All of the posts generated exciting conversation about possible alien existence.

Social media discussion surrounding the new planets has connected the world in a meaningful way. Now with high demand for more answers and information regarding the planets, NASA’s Spitzer team is working hard to discover more and reveal more to the public. Hopefully, this is a step closer to answering the age old question are we really alone in this universe?



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