Earth-like planets exist

US and Belgian researchers have discovered seven planets in the orbit of the red dwarf star Trappist-1 that resemble the planet Earth in size and mass. Observers say more money is needed for basic research, and talk enthusiastically about the dawn of a new age of discovery.

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La Libre Belgique (BE) /

A victory for basic scientific research

The discovery serves to highlight the importance of much-neglected basic scientific research, La Libre Belgique observes in delight:

“This discovery by Nasa and a team of researchers, most of them from the University of Liège, invites us to go beyond merely dreaming. It brings the prospect of extraterrestrial life out of the realm of science fiction. ... It would be wrong to dismiss the reaction to this news as over-excited babbling. Because this news has other positive impacts. Most importantly, it demonstrates to our politicians the urgent need to provide well-deserved funding for basic research at the universities - research that those who are fixated on the investment benefits of science see as a thankless scientific task.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

A discovery like back in the days of Columbus

Lidove noviny revels in the sense of traveling back in time to the age of great discoveries:

“In the olden days, every such discovery was unique. Today, news media are also calling the star with its seven planets a unique discovery. Well, these planets will probably not be the only ones of their kind, but this is indeed the first confirmation of their existence. The fact that serious newspapers wrote headlines claiming that some of the planets may be 'habitable' has to do with the shrinking budgets for space research. They have a tendency to exaggerate here. Because we know nothing about any 'inhabitants'. ... And it makes little sense to speculate about life on other planets at this point. More significant is the evidence that other planets similar to earth exist at all. This discovery is just as important as the discovery of the first islands was.”