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Wednesday, March 8 2017

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NASA recently announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized, rocky exoplanets orbiting the M8 dwarf TRAPPIST-1. This dim star emits only 0.05% the luminosity of our Sun, yet because their orbits are so small, several of the planets are within the "Habitable Zone" and could potentially have liquid water on the surface. We discuss the discovery and properties of the star and the planets, the prospects for detecting evidence of life in the near future, and the challenges this system poses for planet formation theories.