It’s a Trappist!

The cool science news of the week is that astronomers have identified seven planets circling the star known as Trappist 1 just a wee 39 light years away from us, three of which might be in the “goldilocks” zone that could support life.

I have two predictions. First, if we think any of these planets are actually habitable and ever decide to try some kind of expedition to the planet with some kind of advanced space ship some day, it is likely that the first party of humans that takes off will arrive to find humans from earth already there—moreover, humans who weren’t born until after they departed. You have to know the ins-and-outs of the theory of time-dilation and the Lorenz equation to understand this paradox. But it won’t matter.

It won’t matter because—second prediction—environmentalists will block any attempt to send humans to another habitable planet, for all of the usual misanthropic reasons at the heart of environmentalism. So I’m happy to go back to what Trappists do best: beer.

Trappist 1


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