Nearly a year after announcing four additional exoplanets orbiting the ultra-cool red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, on February 5, 2018, NASA released new information regarding the composition and atmosphere of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 System. The seven Earth-sized planets are made mostly of rock, some of which have densities that suggest there could be as much as 5 percent of the their mass as water, 250 times more than our Earth’s ocean. The planets, at times appearing larger than the Moon looks on Earth,  may be tidally locked, meaning that one half of the planet is always facing the star, leaving the other side in perpetual night. Sure makes for a solid science fiction setting if you ask me.

TRAPPIST-1 System: Rocky Planets With Complex AtmospheresThis new batch of information helps pave the way for the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2019, which will examine these planetary atmospheres even further. Scientists now know more about TRAPPIST-1 than any other planetary system, excluding our own,of course (that would be silly yet oddly human #exploretheocean). If we are to discover life outside of our solar system, as of this date TRAPPIST-1 might just be our best chance.