Twitter icon


Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Is this your first visit?
Contact us
External links

Recommended books

Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD of this site
Vital notes

World religions
BUDDHISM
CHRISTIANITY
Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
 Interpret the Bible
 Persons
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
 Denominations
HINDUISM
ISLAM
JUDAISM
WICCA / WITCHCRAFT
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic beliefs
Atheism
Agnosticism
Humanism
Other

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Quotes
Movies
Confusing terms
Glossary
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs. Religion
More information

Spiritual/ethics
Spirituality
Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Peace/conflict
Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Cloning
Death penalty
Environment

Same-sex marriage

Homosexuality
Human rights
Gays in the military
Nudism
Origins
Sex & gender
Sin
Spanking
Stem cells
Transexuality
Women-rights
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news

 

 

!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

Search for intelligent life in the universe.

(SETI) Nearby Star Discovered
To Have Seven Earth-Like
Planets That Might Support Life!
Religious & Life Implications.

horizontal rule

what the Trappist-1 solar system looks like 1

Artist's impression of what the TRAPPIST-1 solar system looks like.

horizontal rule

Part 3

This topic is continued from the previous essay.

horizontal rule

In a remarkable discovery made during late 2015 and published in the journal Nature during 2016-MAY, three planets were found revolving around a relatively nearby star. It is called TRAPPIST-1 (a.k.a. 2MASS J23062928-0502285) and is in the constellation of Aquarius. It is located a distance of 12 parsecs (39 light years, 230 trillion miles or 370 trillion kilometers) from Earth.

That is, a space ship traveling at 186,000 miles per second or 300 million meters per second -- the speed of light -- would take 39 years to reach the star. 2,3 Unfortunately, current spacecraft technology can only reach a very small fraction of this speed. Voyager 1, which left our solar system in 2012, is currently traveling at "only" 38,200 miles/hour. It is not going in the direction of TRAPPIST-1, but if it were, it would take 685,000 years to get there! 4

A second discovery was that the planets are somewhat similar to Earth. Some -- perhaps all -- of the planets lie in the habitable region of their solar system. That is, they have a surface temperature that would permit water to exist there in liquid form. Liquid water is generally regarded as a necessary precondition for the formation of life on a planet.

Sponsored link

During 2003, the Spitzer Space Telescope was launched by NASA into an orbit that follows the Earth around the Sun. It later confirmed the presence of two of the planets and discovered five more. Additional planets may still be found. 5

The planets are believed to be tidally locked. That is, they have the same side always facing the sun. This would cause very strong winds to circle the planet. An article in Wikipedia suggests that:

"The best places for life may be close to the mild twilight regions between the two sides. ... Red dwarf stars are subject to frequent, intense flares that are likely to have stripped away the atmospheres of any planets in such close orbits. 6

TRAPPIST-1 is a dwarf star that is only slightly larger than our planet Jupiter. It has a mass of about 8%, and a diameter of about 11%, that of our Sun. Its planets' orbital periods -- the length of their year -- range from 1.5 to about 20 days. The planets' average distance from their sun range from 0.011 Astronomical Units (AU) to 0.06 AU. This compares to Earth at an average of 1.0 AU from our Sun.

Michaël Gillon, an astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium, is the lead study author.

The planets were detected using transit photometry using the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. This technique involves observing how the light from the star dims as each planet passes in front of it.

Amaury Triaud, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge, is one of the study authors. He said:

"I don't think any time before we had the right planets to discover and find out if there was (life). Here, if life managed to thrive and releases gases similar to what we have on Earth, we will know."

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate said:

"This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life. Answering the question 'are we alone?' is a top science priority. ... Finding so many planets like these for the first time in their [star's] habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal."

Artist's impression of a view from one of TRAPPIST-1's planets 5

Artist's impression of the view from one of
TRAPPIST-1's planets, showing a second
planet transiting the star and a third
planet to the right of the star.

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

Religious implications:

Professor Bill Nettles is the chair of Union University's physics department in Jackson, TN, and an Old Testament professor at Gateway Seminary in Ontario CA. Referring to Heaven and Hell, he said that the:

"... excitement [among some scientists] over the possibility of extra-terrestrial life simply confirms [a longstanding assumption that] surely life must exist somewhere [else] in the universe. [That assumption] has been a theme of writers for centuries, and we shouldn't expect it to wane. ...For Christians, there is already a hope that there is life elsewhere, but we don't need to find it in some other planet. It is found in the promises of God, revealed in the human-divine person of Jesus of Nazareth."

The discovery of "... other planets around other stars should be no more surprising to us today than the discovery of rocky planets in our own solar system centuries ago. The Bible begins with the creation of the heavens and earth. These discoveries do not dispute that."

Scientists will attempt to study the atmosphere of these planets in the hopes of detecting the presence of gasses like oxygen, ozone and methane that might indicate biological activity. This study will likely take five years until 2022.

Professor Nettles commented that even if no such gasses are found, there:

"... will be no dashing [some scientists'] hope" of life in TRAPPIST-1. [Believers should remember the TRAPPIST-1 planets are governed by scientific laws] "... actively upheld by a powerful and loving God ... nothing about the discovery of Earth-sized planets around a dim star affects the Christian narrative of Creation - Fall - Redemption - Glorification."

The biblical creation story starts at the beginning of the Bible at Genesis 1. The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible translates the original Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 as:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. ..."

The "Fall" that Nettles refers to is seen later in Genesis, at Chapter 3. It contains a story in which Adam and Eve violated the instructions of God by eating the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The first couple apparently had been created like the rest of the animals without a moral sense. They were driven only by instinct. By eating this magical fruit, their brains were rearranged and they suddenly developed a moral sense of good and evil. This is referred to by many Christians as "Original Sin" and "The Fall" of humanity. They further believe that the sin and its punishment were transmitted to Adam and Eve's children who were not involved in the eating of the fruit. It was further transmitted to their grandchildren, and continuing on hundreds of generations to present day humans.

However, some liberal Christians and secularists refer to the event as a myth about the "rise of humanity" -- the time when humans first became motivated by ethics, and morality, along with instincts. They had become fully human.

horizontal rule

This topic continues in the next essay

horizontal rule

Related essays and sections on this web site that you might find interesting:

horizontal rule

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. NASA simulation, found at the Daily and Sunday Express (UK) at: http://www.express.co.uk/
  2. Ashley Strickland, "Astronomers discover 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star," CNN, 2017-FEB-22, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  3. Michael Gillon, et al., "Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1," Nature magazine, 2017-FEB-23, at: http://www.nature.com/
  4. , "TRAPPIST-1: How Long Would It Take to Fly to 7-Planet System?," Space, 2017-FEB-23, at: http://www.space.com/
  5. Image by ESO/M. Kornmesser at http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1615a/ CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/), via Wikimedia Commons.
  6. "TRAPPIST-1," Wikipedia, as on 2017-FEB-24, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  7. David Roach, "Planets' discovery said to incite misplaced hope," Baptist Press, 2017-FEB-23, at: http://www.bpnews.net/
  8. Rabbi Goldie Milgram, "When Does Life Begin? A Jewish View," Reclaiming Judaism, undated, at: http://www.reclaimingjudaism.org/

horizontal rule

Site navigation:

Home page >  here

 Home > ChristianityBible > Inerrancy > Harmony > Science & religion > here

Home > ChristianityBible > Bible Topics > Inerrancy > Harmony > Science & religion > here

Home > Religious information > Inerrancy > Harmony > Science & religion > here

Copyright © 2016 & 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2017-FEB-24
Latest update : 2017-FEB-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

Go to the previous page, or go to the "conflicts between science and religion" menu, or choose:

Google
Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Hot, controversial topics

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?


Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

 
Sponsored links