(CBS) — Astronomers have discovered seven roughly Earth-size planets very close to a cool dwarf star some 39 light years from Earth, including three orbiting in the star’s habitable zone where liquid water, a key ingredient for life as it’s known on Earth, could be present, researchers announced Wednesday.
The record-setting star system is the first to feature three Earth analogues in the so-called “Goldilocks” zone of their parent star and the first to include seven such worlds overall.
The discovery was announced Wednesday in the journal Nature.
“Finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of science at NASA Headquarters. “Just imagine how many worlds are out there that have a shot at becoming a habitable system that we could explore.”