The TRAPPIST-1 star system may be too old for life

From Engadget - August 13, 2017

As the team's Adam Burgasser explains: if there is life, it's the "hardy" sort. It would have to survive extreme conditions for billions of years, he says. The upshot? If there is life, humans will have plenty of time to find it. A dwarf like TRAPPIST-1 is so stable that it should last for 900 times longer than the current age of the universe (around 13.7 billion years), and its temperature will be very consistent throughout that time.

The big challenge is using the Hubble and James Webb telescopes to learn whether or not any of the planets have atmospheres like Earth's. If they do, knowing the rough age of the star will come in handy. It will shed more light on how atmospheres evolve, and how long they can last in systems that are far older than humanity's home turf.


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