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Matthew TorrisiMrs. GribbinResearch Paper 1019 JanuaryDecember 20187The TRAPPIST-1 Theory One in ten thousand. That is the chance that any planet in the endless void of space might house life. The chance  It’s the same chance that mankind’s home planet, Earth, might be able to nurture and sustain human life. The chance that some system in the cosmos could potentially nurture and sustain its own life. Fortunately, more than 100 billion planets have been estimated within our Milky Way alone (The Milky Way’s). February 22nd, 2017, marks the date mankind hasd set its eyes upon that one in ten thousand by focusing its gaze on. TRAPPIST-1, a system full of planets each all capable in some way of housing life. , This system just might be the home of mankind’s future. TRAPPIST-1 has the potential to house both extraterrestrial or human life due to its planets’ distance from their star and their similarities to the terrestrial planet Earth.Life is a delicate object balance , prone to change, instability, and breaking. One wrong step, and it shatters. Our own planet has faced so many mass extinctions it is’s hard to believe amazing that life could even exist on Earth today. Life’s very fragility demands a special set creates a series of requirements for  it life to exist on a planet. The primary first of these requirements is water; a unique factor defined by temperature, because of its high freezing point and low boiling point. in this regard  Thankfully, the TRAPPIST-1 system is very offers quite the promisinge. Although all of its the planets orbit within one fifth of Mercury’s distance from our Sun (The Treasures), three of its the eight planets are still firmly in the Habitable Zone (NASA Telescope). These three become habitable This is because their sun is the planets orbit an M-dwarf star, and one that is about 10% the diameter of Earth, and less than 10% its mass. It burns at less than half of its temperature, meaning that the Habitable Zone for the star is significantly closer to TRAPPIST-1a than our own sunstar (The Treasures). Although this distance does means close equilibrium temperatures to Earth’s, it also poses high danger due to . Because of how close these planets proximity are to their star. , Tthey are constantly bombarded with high amounts of radiation at all times, radiation so high life could never hope to survive. This X-Ray radiation also poses a high risk of erosion to for the planets, meaning they would need have to have protective ozone layers in their atmospheres to be able to have a similar survivable surface radiation similar to that of Earth’s. ; survivable. The radiation would, if no atmosphere is present, tear through the planets’ atmospheres, destroying them (UV Surface). Also, this radiation could potentially have destroyed the planets’ magnetospheres, rendering them vulnerable to harsh CME’s from their star (The Treasures). Further, UV radiation will break apart water molecules over time, which could have completely dryied up the planets. This leaves only one plausible way for these planets to still be able to house life today. If tThey must have formed far from their star, where ice could possibly build have built up oceans’ worth of water, then so that it it could have melted as the planets moved closer to their star and  provide the water needed for life (TRAPPIST-1 Planets May Still Be).There is one planet in the entire expanse of this universe that mankind is best adapted to live on: Earth. Out of all of the hundreds of thousands of discovered planets, theisre is only one that man is uniquely adapted to live upon. Because of this, the search for habitable planets has a very specific goal in mind; one that is adapted to man, and not one that man can adapt to. The TRAPPIST-1 planets might have adapted over time to support human life. For example, six out of the eight planets in the system have similar radii to Earth. This means that the planets would have similar gravitational pulls to Earth, and are one step closer to being a perfect fit for mankind. Further, three out of the eight planets also have similar equilibrium temperatures to Earth. Similar, in that humans could survive in the average planetary temperatures (TRAPPIST-1 System). The planets also have tidal forces between each other because of their relative distances to from each other . These tidal forces would be similar to Earth’s lunar tidal forces.the tides Earth experiences because of its moon. However, these forces come with a downside b. Because of how great these forces are, causing the planets to be are tidally locked. This means the planets would have a “day side” and a “night side,” one side permanently facing their star, one facing away. This would could have rendered the planets extremely hot on one side, cold on another. This Further, it would also  burn off could have torn their atmospheres up, stripping the planets of theirthem protection. However, the planets might have adapted to this tidal locking, the atmospheres becoming strengthened to the star’s CME’s and electromagnetic radiation (TRAPPIST-1 Planets May Be Older).In the Nearly three decades have passed since the day mankind learned how to detect life infrom space. Of course, the technology has adapted greatly and greatly improved dramatically. since 1990, improving the experiment greatly. The process to discover life on a planet was first utilized in the Galileo Space Telescope in 1990, which carried using an experiment added by Carl Sagan. The idea of the experiment was to be able to discover life on Earth with no previous data about the planet. The experiment included required a process that began with measuring the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Next, the telescope would take pictures of the planet. As a final search, the telescope would detect any radio emissions coming from the planet. However, there was one most essential step that Sagan implemented, but could not be done in 1990, but the technology has today now become available todayfor. This step is the detection of thermodynamic equilibrium,. This step is itself a process, and the  most important one to the experiment as a whole. This process detects the amounts of molecules in the planet’s atmosphere one by one, in order to detect life. This process works because life naturally offsets the amount of certain molecules in an atmosphere. For example, there should not be an abundance of methane gas in an oxygen-rich atmosphere like Earth’s. However, methane is a byproduct of many bacteria and mammals on Earth, which greatly offsets the amount of methane in the atmosphere. The experiment, if performed today, would be able to detect this methane gas and determine that some phenomenon must have caused this gas to exist in such abundance in the atmosphere. However, one technological setback still exists in performing the experiment; we cannot examine any planets that are not analysed by an orbiting space telescope, like Galileo or either of the Voyagers. This means that systems like TRAPPIST-1 cannot be fully analysed yet, for they are not large enough for the Transit Method to be used. The Transit Method is one other way to analyse a system far away from Earth using Sagan’s experiment, for a system that is far away from Earth. If a planet is positioned perfectly around its star so that during its orbit, it passes in front of the star from our view on Earth, some of the planet’s composition could be measured. However, thise Method requires that the planet be significantly larger than Earth, which unfortunately the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system are not (First Detection).Mankind had always wondered if he is alone in the vast universe. Mankind is beyond the question of “if.” Mankind no longer has to ask if  we are alone. Mankind no longer looks in the sky and wonders if  there is life out there, but instead where that life is. Instead, what that life looks, acts, and thinks like. Instead, how we will come into contact with them. Those questions just might be answered in a system merely 39 light years from man’s home. Those questions might just be answered in TRAPPIST-1. TRAPPIST-1 has the potential to house both extraterrestrial or human life due to its planets’ distance from their star and their similarities to the terrestrial planet Earth. With no “if” left to ask, “where” becomes the next step in this search for alien life.Matt ur essay is too short Delete this lineWorks CitedCofield, Calla. “TRAPPIST-1 Planets May Still Be Wet Enough for Life, Despite Losing Many Oceans.”, Purch, 31 Aug. 2017,, Karen. “NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star.”, NASA, 22 Feb. 2017, O’Malley-James, Jack T. and L. Kaltenegger. “UV Surface Habitability of the TRAPPIST-1 System.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, vol. 469, no. 1, July 2017, pp. L26-L30. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slx047. Rosen, Drew, et al. First Detection of Life | Space Time. Youtube, PBS Space Time, 24 Aug. 2017, “The Milky Way’s 100 Billion Planets.”, NASA, 25 Apr. 2012,”TRAPPIST-1 System.” TRAPPIST-1, Wall, Mike. “TRAPPIST-1 Planets May Be Twice As Old As Earth.”, Purch, 17 Aug. 2017, Yep, Alexandra, et al. The Treasures of Trappist-1 | Space Time. Youtube, PBS Space Time, 1 Mar. 2017,