As of today, October 22, 2013, there are just over 1,000 planets around other stars that have been discovered and a further over 3,000 planets that are still unconfirmed that were detected by the Kepler Space mission. Of these confirmed planets over 100 are superearths, earth-mass planet or lower mass planets and would be terrestrial planets with a solid surface. This is in contrast to the remaining mostly Jupiter mass planets that would have thousands of miles of atmosphere that gradually turns into a dense liquid like the case of Jupiter or Saturn in our solar system. There are probably 50 to over 100 planets that are in the habitable zone of their stars but only 12 are in both the habitable zone and have a solid surface so far. Hopefully it won't be too long that we will have more advanced telescopes that could tell if there is liquid water on the surface of any of the terrestrial planets and what the composition of their or other planets' atmospheres are so that we can better tell which ones might truly be habitable. Just because a planet is habitable doesn't mean it is inhabited but if a planet is a somewhat similiar in mass and temperature as earth and has liquid water on its surface and hopefully some water vapour and at least oxygen or carbon dioxide in its atmosphere it could support life similiar to that on earth. Of course there are other possibilites for life including the use of silicon instead of carbon or the use of sulfur compounds for breathing etc. or of ammonia instead of water as a solution to support life but life on earth is mostly not based on these systems but we should consider that alien life could be based on such elements or molecules on other planets. As a Christian I personally believe there could be bacteria-like life or even something like our plant or animal life on other planets but not intelligent life with spirits and God-consciousness like humans as the Bible I don't believe mentions them and such hypothetical beings could sin and get separarted from God and then the question would be if God wanted to save them would he let the Lord Jesus Christ's work of salvation on earth count for them too and if so how would they hear about it and if not would he have to go around to different planets to incarnate as one of them and die for their sins which all gets a bit bizarre and gruesome for the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God and would be strange that God wouldn't mention it to us more clearly in His Word - the Holy Bible so we could at least pray for their salvation.
Although I was only born in 1960 and haven't read much science fiction, I have been interested in science fact especially astronomy and space exploration since I learned to read when I was about 5 years old. More recently I have also learned some things about science fiction and alien reports and UFOs especially usually the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Up to the late 1950s or early 1960s when the space age really began I have learned that much science fiction and alien reports relating to UFOs were set in planets of our solar system, especially Venus and Mars. However in the late 1950s and early 1960s some of the first significant space age technology was used to explore and learn more about planets of our solar system such as radar and spacecraft sent in their vicinity (at first flybys and some orbiters). These showed that Venus wasn't a tropical paradise or a jungle world like earth is thought to be by some in the time of the dinosaurs (although creationists would view things differently) or a heavily salted ocean of water or of petroleum etc. but a very dry would with a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide and extreme greenhouse effect and temperature of about 500 degrees celcius and surface pressure 90 times that at sea level on earth and corrosive clouds and rain such as of sulfuric acid. Therefore this pretty much ruled out Venus as an abode for life in science fact or any science fiction or UFO reports that made attempts to still be based on science fact. Mars was found to have a much thinner atmosphere than earth's with about 1/1000 of the pressure of that at earth's surface and again of mostly carbon dioxide and many craters and no significant magnetic field and no visible vegetation so it too was ruled out by new science fact for any life except for possibly bacteria especially under the surface or later on the possibility of past life. From a biblical perspective the inspiration of much of the alien UFO reports were probably demons so they had to rethink their approach when it was no longer too credible that aliens in their messages which were actually the demons lived on Venus or Mars so they started more often saying they came from other star systems such as the Pleiades, Sirius, Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, Zeta Reticuli and others. Science fiction followed the same trend for the most part. Now fifty years later we are at a similiar tipping point or starting to be for possible planets around other stars or at least nearby ones. For instance for the above star systems we have pretty much ruled out gas giants being around Sirius, Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti and Zeta Reticuli and I am not sure about the Pleiades which are many stars. However we have found 1 or 2 debris disks around one of the stars of Zeta Reticuli and 5 unconfirmed planets including one habitable one around Tau Ceti and an earth-mass planet in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri. There could still be more earth mass planets found around some of these stars even in their habitable zones but we need to wait a bit longer. The stars that are mentioned in science fiction according to Wikipedia as having planets (or brown dwarfs) and for which planets around them have so far been found are the following: 47 Ursa Majoris, Nu Ophiuchi, Tau Ceti, Epsilon Eradini, Proxima Centauri, 82 Eradini or HD 20794, Fomalhaut, Gliese 876 or Ross 780, Groombridge 34 or Gliese 15 and Kapteyn's Star, Aldebaran, Pollux (Beta Geminorum), Lalande 21185, Luyten's Star (Gliese 273), Ross 128, Gliese 581, Gliese 687, Kappa Corona Borealis, Alpha Arietis (Hamal), Epsilon Indi and, at least one star in Pleiades. Of these some have more than one planets found around them in fact and some are also mentioned in UFO reports and some such at Proxima Centauri. The planet in the habitable zone around Tau Ceti has an estimated average temperature of 19 degrees celcius so it could probably only support microbes as far as earth life is concerned but it could still have liquid water and be possible to set a base there near the poles with sufficient cooling equipment. There are 22 mostly confirmed habitable planets and another about 80 Kepler planet candidate habitable planets detected so far and it will be interested to see how many of them and what ones stand up as still being habitable when more information is found out about them such as if they have oceans, how thick their atmospheres are and what they are made of, how fast they rotate and do they have significant magnetic fields. All these things could be determined at least for the closer planets if more funding was available to build more and bigger and more versatile telescopes especially in space as this is within current technology. It would also be interesting to see if there start to be more alien messages or science fiction novels about intelligent life set on these planets as some of them especially on the Gliese red dwarf planets are around very faint stars that aren't very bright or familiar and weren't featured in science fiction or alien messages much before. Also there are many more stars and possible planets around them than planets or large moons in our solar system so I am hoping that this time that there will be at least some extrasolar planets that hold up to be able to support life or even be determined that they support at least some type of life but that hasn't been determined yet.
From a biblical Christian view I think this is God replacing the truth of science fact with some of the false views given by demons as aliens and in science fiction. I wouldn't say all science fiction is bad as there are some writers of science fiction such as C. S. Lewis and others that were born again Christians that used science fiction in a way that honoured God and Jesus and much other science fiction like science fact could be used for or against God and His creation. I also believe and can testify in my own life that space exploration in science fact and to some degree in science fiction can help us get us get a better witness and knowledge of God's creation and point us to faith in Him which is a good thing. However I think it is true including the longer we wait before the Lord Jesus Christ returns for his church and then to set up God's kingdom on earth that people will be tempted to replace belief in God and seeing him with aliens and extraterrestrials that might be more limited but would still keep humanity company in the universe and that humans could still look up to. It will be interesting to see how alien messages and science fiction develops as God reveals more of his creation in the other stars and the planets around them in science fact and puts pressure on science fiction stories and alien messages to adapt if they want to still be reasonabley consistant with the facts.
In the beginning of Genesis 2 in the summary of God's creative work, the author summarizes it as God making the heavens and the earth and the host of them. From Genesis 1 we know the only things or host of the heaven that are particularly mentioned are the sun, the moon, and the stars. However, even though they are not particularly mentioned the host of the heaven would certainly include other inanimate celestial objects such as asteroids, debris disks, comets or meteors and planets or their moons or nebula, galaxies etc. However the host of heaven could include living things as well although I can't prove it but this does seem to be a very general expression. If there are living things in space and this passage in God's word the Holy Bible does refer to them I think it it just to non-intelligent or non-spiritual or non-humanoid life such as the equivalent of microbes, plants or animals. Although no extraterrestrial life has been found, even on potentially habitable extrasolar planets there could be indications of this found soon such as of oxygen, methane, chlorphyl or other compounds associated with life on earth that are in our atmosphere or possibly some similiar compounds that could be associated with extraterrestrial life. The James Webb space telescope that is scheduled to be launched in 2018 with the NASA TESS mission will be able to detect some major chemicals in the atmospheres or nearby terrestrial extrasolar planets including possibly some of the above or similiar chemicals including of some terrestrial planets such as superearths.
Although some people think there are intelligent extraterrestrial beings out in space or in the 2nd or astronomical heavens there is also evidence against that with the lack of signals from them with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programs looking for radio or light signals from them and I think almost all of the 5 to 10 % or truly unexplained UFOs are caused by demons or fallen angels or their effects and not true humanoid extraterrestrials. Also there is the problem that any hypothetical intelligent and spiritual extraterrestrial race could have fallen into sin and would need to be saved or restored to God. This would require something like the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and His coming in the form of a man and then in the form of a man dying for our sins on the cross 2000 years ago and raising from the dead. However there would be a question in eternity how would Jesus or the Son of God appear if He had to appear in the form of many races as their Saviour over time and otherwise their would be the problem of whether Jesus' death in the form of a human should apply to their race if there is no blood relation with human beings.
So I think the scripture in Genesis 2 about God's creation of the earth and the heavens and the host of them might not only include the sun, the moon and the stars but also planets, comets, asteroids, moons or planets including planets of other stars but possibly also life on other planets including possibly microbes, planets or animals but not the counterpart of intelligent earthly human life but that it might not include any extraterrestrial life and it is as follows:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified if: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, Genesis 2:1-4
In late August 2016 scientists with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in La Cilla Chile using the HARPS system were able to confirm a planet orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri. Proxima Centauri is the nearest star other than our own sun to the earth at about 4.25 light years from earth with a light year a unit of length of just under 6 trillion miles or just under 10 trillion kilometres. Red dwarf stars are much fainter and smaller and less massive than our sun but the new planet is very close to Proxima Centauri so that it has a year of only just over 11 days. This means the new planet Proxima b orbits its star Proxima Centauri in the middle of Proxima's habitable zone where there could be liquid water on the surface of a planet, such as Proxima b, in that zone. (It has not yet been confirmed there is water on Proxima b' s surface but that is a good possibility but astronomers will need better equipment than they now have but might have some of it soon with the James Webb or Wfirst space telescopes or the European Extremely large earth telescope still under construction. The reason the discovery of this planet is such a big deal is that it further shows planets are common and that even the closest of all other stars than our sun has not just a planet but one in that is potentially habitable so it could be that there could be many potentially habitable and some actually habitable or even by some life inhabited even if it is just bacteria or something simple like that probably in most cases where there is life. It would be good in the case of Proxima Centauri b if NASA would still go ahead with the formerly proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder which would be able to make out major surface features on such a close planet such as continents, oceans, polar caps and perhaps large forested areas but funding for the Terrestrial Planet Finder hasn't been confirmed yet. The other part of the interest in Proxima b is it has a minimum mass of only 1.3 earth masses and even if its actual mass is somewhat more than that it is still likely to be rocky as planets with masses up to about 4.5 or 5.0 earth masses are now thought to be usually rocky or terrestrial as opposed to mostly gaseous as is common with more massive planets including Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus and Neptune in our solar system. The drawbacks of Proxima b is that since it has to be quite close to its faint parent star to be in its habitable zone it will likely be tidally locked. This means Proxima b probably always has the same face facing its star Proxima Centauri which could make that side very hot and the planet's other side would then always be the nightside by facing away from its star Proxima Centauri. This could make this planet less habitable than if it was rotating. The other problem is that, like many other red dwarf stars, Proxima Centauri gives off frequent and strong stellar flares including in the x-ray part of the spectrum. This could be quite damaging or prohibitive of any life on the planet, at least the side facing the star, unless it has a very thick atmosphere and strong magnetic field or unless there is life under the surface in its rocks or at the bottom of any ocean it might have such as some life on earth. The discovery of this planet around Proxima Centauri, especially a potentially habitable one, is appealing to many people because it makes it much more feasible to reach a potentially habitable planet in our life time at least with a robotic probe. Such a robotic probe that would be fitted with a camera and some other basic instruments is a light sail such as the one envisioned by Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking and Marc Zucherberg of Facebook company in the Project Starshot Light Sail Project. This project would use a huge array of powerful lasers on earth to propel by light a very small and thin light sail to up to 20% the speed of light to get to the Proxima/ Alpha Centauri star system in about 20 years and return a message back to earth about 4 years later. Some southern SETI projects such as the one formerly operating from Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia have looked at Proxima Centauri before for radio signals that might indicate intelligent life on any planet around it but did not see anything suspicious. From a biblical Christian viewpoint it is somewhat unlikely but not impossible that there is physical or mortal life beyond earth in this universe but it is still quite possible there is tiny bacteria like life and even a very small degree possible there is larger scale life such as our plants or animals although there's would likely be very different. However according to the Bible it would be much less likely and much more difficult if there was intelligent and spiritual mortal life like humans on other worlds. This is because there would be a strong possibility that such an additional race of intelligent and spiritual beings could have sinned like the human race did. In such a case to restore of these hypothetical intelligent but mortal aliens to a relationship with the Creator God, God's Son Jesus Christ would either have to count His death on this world for their sins and somehow inform them of His saving work for them on Earth and get them to trust in Him or else incarnate Himself on their planet as one of their race and die for their sins and rise again as He did for the human race on Earth. Either of these two scenarios would be quite difficult both logistically and theologically from a biblical perspective and would be a major reason I and many Christians say other intelligent mortal life on other planets is unlikely and we would usually say the aliens of UFOs etc. are not extraterrestrials in this sense but demons or fallen angels in disguise as aliens. Although humanity would need a large increase in technological capability or committment to travel to planets of even closer stars such as this planet of Proxima Centauri, light sails for robotic missions and nuclear fission rockets for manned missions could be developed and probably in the near future nuclear fusion rockets using hydrogen would a feasible technology for interstellar travel. As a biblical Christian I also believe the Lord Jesus Christ will very soon to rapture or catch up to heaven His true Church or all true or born again Christians and change us into our resurrected or spiritual bodies that would be able to travel through space probably at the speed of thought. Everyone who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ that He died for our sins on the cross and rose again and after getting the Holy Spirit and a new heart in this life later gets a new body from God will likely be able to do space travel including to this Proxima Centauri planet in the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and then to probably other planets in the new heavens for eternity.
In February 2017 there was an announcement led by a team of astronomers at the University of Liege in Belgium and by the leader of their team Micheal Gillon and some other astronomers including at least one from the US space agency NASA. The press conference was sponsored by the journal Nature in which the results were officially published this month. The remarkable announcement was that more planets including 3 in the habitable zone have been found around the very small and cool red-dwarf star Trappist-1. This star and its system of planets are around 39 light years from Earth and our solar system in the constellation Aquarius. These newly announced planets bring the total number of known planets around Trappist-1 to 7. All 7 planets have a year or orbital period of about 20 days or less and would all fit well inside the orbit or Mercury in our solar system. However because Trappist-1 is so much fainter and smaller than our sun, only slightly larger than Jupiter in our solar system, the orbits of some of these planets would still be well within the habitable zone of Trappist-1. What is also remarkable about the Trappist-1 and the newly announced planets is that not only the 3 in the habitable zone but also the other 4 planets are roughly Earth-size and are likely terrestrial that is they likely have solid surfaces and don't have thick layers of atmosphers like Uranus, Neptune, Saturn and Jupiter in our solar system. These large outer planets of our solar system are called gas giants or some times ice or gas giants. Some of the planets once considered habitable are called super-earths are now thought to be mini-neptunes with substantial atmosphere and not likely habitable. These Trappist-1 planets including the ones in the habitable zone are much less massisve than super-earths and would not likely have extensive atmospheres like mini-neptunes.
The size and mass of these planets including the three in the habitable zone are from slightly less to slightly greater than that of Earth. The three planets in the habitable zone are Trapist-1 e, f and g. According to the web site http://www.drewexmachina.com and his Habitable Planet Reality Check section the amount of light that the three planets get from their parent star is 0.66 for Trappist-1 e, 0.38 for Trappist-1 f and 0.26 for Trappist-1 g. Most of the light these planets would receive from their parent star would be in the infrared range as opposed to light in the higher energy visible range Earth receives from our sun. However with the size and density of these planets there could still be liquid water on the surface and therefore possibly some type of life as we know it on the surface of all these 3 planets in the habitable zone. The radii of these three planets in the habitable zone are Trappist-1 e 0.92 times Earth radius, Trappist-1 f 1.05 times Earth radius and Trappist-1 g 1.13 times Earth radius. According also to the article by Drew Ex Machina the masses of the three planets in the habitable zone are Trappist-1 e 0.62 times that of Earth, Trappist-1 f 0.68 times that of Earth and Trappist-1 g 1.34 times that of Earth. This leads to density figures for these three planets as follows: Trappist-1 e 0.80 times that of Earth, Trappist-1 f 0.60 times that of Earth and Trappist-1 g 0.94 times that of Earth. The densities of Trappist-1 e and g are consistent with them being made of solid material mostly rock with perhaps some metal such as iron and nickel in their cores while the density figure for f means it could contain more lighter material such as water ice or other non-rocky material that are often called volatiles. Possible limits to these planets being habitable are that their close-in location to Trappist-1 could mean they are tidally locked to Trappist-1 and one side of their surface would always get sunlight and the other side would always have night but astronomers still need to get specific data on this rather than just have this idea based on theory. Another possible limit on the habitability of these planets is the somewhat more variable nature of the radiation they receive from their star Trappist-1. This is due to the nature of red dwarf stars having a larger fraction of energy released in stellar flares compared to their general light emitted in comparison with more massive G-type stars like our sun. However Trappist-1 is a relatively quiet or less variable star than some other red dwarf stars so this factor might not be so severe a limit to the possible habitability of some of its planets in the habitable zone as for planets in the habitable zone of some other red dwarf stars.
These planets were all found by the transit method because all 7 of them revolve around their star approximately edge-on as seen from Earth. Therefore astronomers can see all 7 planets regularly pass in front of the parent star which allows them to determine the approximate sizes and orbital periods and distances from the parent star of these planets. Because there are so many planets are close together is a system such as this the gravitational effects of these planets on each other can be calculated through their effect on the length of the years of these planets and can be determined by the time between transits across the parent star Trappist-1 through a technique called Transit Timing Variation or TTV. However our equipment is not really sensitive enough yet to gain more information about the possible atmospheres of these planets. Thankfully though NASA is in the final stages of testing its next major space telescope the James Webb Space Telescope it plans to launch next fall (2018). This telescope will focus on observing in infrared wavelengths where it could detect the presence of molecules such as oxygen, carbon dioxide CO2 and methane CH4 and ozone O3 and water H2O that could indicate the presence of some life as we know it especially if more than one of these molecules are present there in the right ratios. James Webb will also be able to detect the surface pressure and temperature of any significant atmospheres of not only the three planets in the habitable zone of Trappist-1 but also some of its other planets if they do have atmospheres. It would be quite a remarkable and exotic sky from the surface of one of the Trappist-1 planets with a much redder sky and a sun much larger in the sky as our sun as seen from Earth and one or more of their fellow planets in the sky appearing much larger than points of light as we see our fellow planets but as disks comparable in size as the Moon in our sky including the possibility of seeing major surface features on their fellow worlds. These planets are going to be closely monitored by capable existing telescopes for the forseeable future to more accurately determine their masses, and orbits and perhaps sizes and also to make sure they don't have excessive hydrogen and helium atmospheres that would make them more like mini-neptunes and not very habitable.
From a biblical Christian viewpoint it is certainly possible but not proven yet that one or more of these worlds could have some life but even secular scientists say this would be more likely to be microbes or algae or something similiar. This is partly because it is thought the tidal locking and extremes of temperature from that or bursts of radiation from their parent star would be hazardous to the continued existence of any life that could have been established there. The Seti project has also already made an initial check-out of this system and not noticed any artificial signals that could be made by intelligent life there. However any life that could have been established on one of these planets, especially the ones on or near the habitable zone, could much more easily spread to its adjacent planets due to their greater proximity compared to planets in our solar system. As a biblical Christian I believe plants and possibly bacteria have bodies but no soul or spirit and animals have bodies and souls including feeling and instinct but not spirits but only humans have bodies, soul and spirit which enables us to have free will and worship the true Creator God of the Bible or false gods of other religions or some people or things in creation. I believe God, angels and demons including the devil have spirits and souls but have to take over the bodies of people or animals to have physical bodies although they seem to be able to do that independently some times. Therefore I don't think it would be much of a problem if there exists and it was found by astronomers or other scientists that any other planet including any of these Trappist-1 ones have the equivalent of bacteria, plants or animals but I admit it would be more complicated if intelligent extraterrestrial mortal life was found on any of these planets. This is because they would probably, like humans, also have spirits and be eternal beings with free-will and in some way be made in God's image and be responsible to Him. Therefore if they sinned or disobeyed God they would need to be saved or redeemed somehow either by Jesus death on the cross and resurrection from the dead on Earth or of Him incarnating as one of their race on their planet and dying for their sins and rising again there. This most likely hypothetical picture is sometimes called "the planet-hopping Jesus". This might be some more trouble and is certainly not clearly mentioned in the Bible or Christianity but I have yet to see definite evidence of it beyond Earth and what might look like it could be like some of the so-called aliens from UFOs be demons in disguise as what the Bible might call signs from heaven in Luke 21 or some of the astral gods of Old Testamenet times. I would definitely though encourage the reader, if you haven't done so already, to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God who became God in the flesh and lived a perfect live, then died for our sins and rose again and returned to heaven that anyone of any nation on Earth that trusts in Him as our personal Lord and Saviour can have an eternal relationship with the true Creator God (God the Father) through Him and forgiveness of all our sins and an eternal physical home in heaven and be part of His eternal people in this age the true Church and soon at the rapture of the Church have a new spiritual body that can enable us to explore God's heavenly creation including worlds such as those around Trappist-1.
In March 2017 there was an announcement of several new planets around Gliese stars. All these planets were found by the radial velocity technique at the same telescope by the HARPS system and I think the European Southern Observatory in Chile. I think most of these planets could be detected from the latitude of Chile. The two stars among them with potentially habitable planets are both close to the celestial equator which means they are visible to people or instruments in much of both the southern and northern hemispheres of Earth. I first heard of the discovery of these planets through astronomers I follow on the social media Twitter service and the abstract from the Cornell University service for astronomical discoveries. They have been added to the Extrasolar Encyclopedia and the two potentially habitable planets Gliese 273 b and Gliese 3223 b have been added to the Planetary Habitable Laboratory that Professor Abel Mendez operates on behalf of the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo. Unfortunately I heard hardly any other coverage of these planets even though they are most likely rocky and close to earth mass and nearby and are mostly in their stars' habitable zones. This is quite perplexing and annoying when there is so much else that is more widely reported on the news or media that is not as positive, inspiring or profound. He is also involved with research on the giant Arecibo radio telescope there that hopefully will survive current threats to cut off funding and operations with a new more long term arrangement. I was surprised that I haven't noticed any other media publicity especially of the two potentially habitable planets. Although both of these planets are near the inner edge of the habitable zones around their respective stars, as clearly shown by the diagrams of their orbits and habitable zones on Abel Mendez' web site, they both have their orbits in just the inner edge of their habitable zones or going a bit beyond the inner edge of the habitable zone.
One thing that makes both these planets attractive is that they are both around very nearby stars that is they orbit Gliese 273 that is Luyten's star that is only around 12 1/2 light years from our solar system and Gliese 3223 is only just over 17 light years away. The latter I think I saw on the Wikipedia article. However what makes these planets particularly interesting is that they both have low enough masses that they are most likely to rocky and light super-earths or heavy earth mass planets and most likely not so-called mini-neptunes. That is because the most likely mass for Gliese 273 b being about 2.9 earth masses and the most likely mass for Gliese 3223 b being about 2.0 earth masses. According to the article on Abel Mendez' The Habitable Exoplanets Catalogue this would be associated with radii of most likely 1.3 earth radii for Gliese 3223 b and 1.4 earth radii for Gliese 273 b. Currently the boundary between super-earth and mini-neptune planets is usually thought to be about 4.5 to 5.0 earth masses and between 1.5 and 1.6 earth radii. Although these two planets could be habitable and have liquid water on them they would likely be hotter than the surface of Earth especially if they have more substantial atmospheres. If they don't have two excessive atmospheres they could support at least microbial life although I don't know if they could support anything more complex other that possible future human astronauts that might not have to build too complex life support systems on any base to live there. It might be too hot there for some plants and the equivalent of our large scale animals. However if these planets have run-away Greenhouse effects in their atmospheres they could have become exo-venuses instead of exo-earths but we won't know until we can learn more about their atmospheres. Both the parent stars of these planets are fairly light red dwarf stars with about 0.29 and 0.164 solar masses for Gliese 273 and Gliese 3223 respectively. This means they could produce quite variable amounts of radiation including frequent and intense stellar flares that could be serious threats to any nearby planets and any life on them including these planets in their habitable zones. It is possible but not yet proven that these planets could be tidally locked to their parent stars alway having the same side of the planets facing their stars. This could mean that there will be a much smaller portion of the surface of these planets that could be habitable unless the climate is moderated by substantial and almost global oceans or substantil atmospheres. Especially Gliese 3223 b is fairly elliptical in its orbit which means it is quite oval and in its case sometimes is in the inner part and sometimes goes beyond the inner part of the habitable zone to uninhabitable regions. The year for these planets are about 18.6 days and 5.4 days for Gliese 273 b or Luyten's star b and for Gliese 3223 b but because they around very faint and cool stars these orbits are mostly within the habitable zones of the stars.
From a biblical Christian viewpoint, even if the environments of either of these planets are temperate enough for large scale life include human-like life to be created and civilization to develop I would doubt that would be the case. This is because they would probably be mentioned more specifically in the Bible if there was intelligent life on these planets and because God would want measures to be taken for any hypothetical intelligent race there to be saved or restored to a relationship with Him if they had sinned or rebelled against Him as happened on earth through our first parents Adam and Eve and that God arranged restoration of people to Himself through sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins after living a perfect life and then rising from the dead and returning to the third heaven. Also both these planets are within range of most major SETI or Search for Extra Terrestrail Intelligence search facilities and I haven't heard any convincing artifical signals have been found from either place. Although it is not likely there are any indigenous mortal intelligent races on these worlds it is quite probable that people of any earthly nation that become restored children of God by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ in this life will be able to visit these places in the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ with our resurrection or spiritual bodies we will get for eternity with the very soon coming rapture or catching up of the true Church to meet Jesus in the atmosphere of Earth and be taken with Him to the heaven of God's throne including His or the third heaven and our eternal homes there. There could however be found to be before that by mystical telepathy or so-called channelling or using psychics or witches or astral projection found to be what looks like intelligent life on these worlds but that would more likely to be demons or fallen angels in disguise. I can't categorically say there is no humanoid life there but there would only be a small fraction of Bible verses that would have to be interpreted with non-traditional importance to have that consistent with the Bible and it would be very difficult to arrange for their redemption or salvation as well through an incarnate saviour either on Earth or there by God's Son Jesus Christ. But less advanced life that doesn't have a spiritual component or in the case of plants and microbes doesn't have a soul component would be much more likely on such worlds but we still yet to conclusively find extraterrestrial even past or present microbial life in our solar system.
In April 2017 astronomers announced a new potentially habitable planet around red dwarf star LHS 1140 with the planet called LHS 1140 b. This star system is about 41 light years from the Earth and our solar system in the direction of the constellation Cetus the Whale. This new potentially habitable planet could be called a super-earth rather than an earth mass planet as it is estimated to have a diameter about 1.4 times that of earth and a mass of about 6.6 earth masses. Usually the upper limit for exoplanets that are considered earth size is about 1.2 earth diameters and the boundary that is now that to exist between super-earths and mini-neptunes to be about 1.5 to 1.6 earth diameters (or radii). Usually the boundary between super-earths and mini-neptunes as far as mass is thought to be between 4.5 and 5.0 earth masses. Although this new planet is significantly above that with about 6.6 earth masses it is thought that with its smaller size (still within super-earth and potentially habitable size) and the fact that it is in the outer section of the habitable zone around its star could mean that LHS 1140 b could still be habitable with this somewhat larger mass. On the orbital diagrams on the web site of astronomer Abel Mendez at University of Puerto Rico Planetary Habitability Laboratory he shows the estimated path of this new planet around its parent star and it is quite eccentric (eliptical) but it is still completely within the habitable zone around its parent star and mostly within the conservative part of the habitable zone that is the part of the habitable zone most likely to be able to support liquid water on the surface of an approximately earth mass planet that orbits in that zone. The orbital period of this planet is just under 25 days and that is the length of its year. It is also possible that the planet LHS 1140 b is not as likely to be tidally locked that is always having the same side of it facing its parent star since it is located in the outer part of the habitable zone around its parent star. This is even though many other planets around red dwarf stars are thought to be tidally locked around their parent stars but many of them are also in more the inner part of the habitable zone around their parent stars and are subject to stronger gravity that could cause tidal locking easier. The fact that this planet is in the outer part of the habitable zone around its parent star and the observations of its parent star as not as volatile with stellar flares as some red dwarf stars probably means this planet is not as subject to the high energy ultra-violet or x-ray radiation from such stellar flares and could therefore be more suitable for life than otherwise potentially habitable planets around more volatile red dwarf stars. The mass of the parent star is 0.146 solar masses and its radius is 0.186 solar radii according to the record for this star in the extra-solar planet database the Extrasolar Planet Encyclopedia. That this new planet LHS 1140 b has a relatively large mass likely means it has a very substantial atmosphere, most likely more substantial than that of earth. Hopefully it does not have too much hydrogen and helium in its atmosphere that could make the atmosphere too thick and the planet too hot to support even microbial life. On Abel Mendez' web site he assigns what he calls the ESI or Earth Similiarity Index value to this planet of 0.68 where a completly earth-like planet would be 1.0 and a totally not earth-like planet would be 0.0. This planet would probably have a higher value if it was a little less massive and smaller as there are several other potentially habitable planets with higher ESIs but most of them do have smaller masses and radii. By comparison Abel Mendez has estimated ESIs for some planets in our solar system are Jupiter as 0.12, Neptune as 0.18 and Mars as 0.64.
From a biblical Christian viewpoint, as with other potentially habitable planets I have mentioned on this web page, and with others that might be discovered soon I am personally open and believe there are scriptures in context in God's Word the Holy Bible that could support that there could be at least primitive physical life like microbes on planets of other stars. However I am also open on a Bible basis including using some of the same scriptures, particularly the heavens and the earth and the things in them, to say there isn't any physical life beyond earth as I think it is fairly flexible as those things in heaven could be more planets or stars instead of life on those planets as well. I just can't say myself. Anyway I am also open that this planet LHS 1140 b could even have something like plants or animals although that would be more remarkable. I would doubt however that this or other planet beyond earth would have intelligent life such as humans as they would probably then have a spirit and free-will and could likely have also rebelled against our Creator God as our first parents Adam and Eve did and brought a sinful nature or inclination on the human race and the need for a saviour or redeemer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Also it would be difficult to get the news of Jesus' saving work on Earth for them to believe in Him for salvation and perhaps even more difficult for God to arrange for Jesus the Son of God to be incarnated as one of their race and die on their planet for the sins of their race. However I guess it would be possible but this isn't really emphasized in the Bible and I think God would want to do so if this was the case so we could at least pray for their salvation and know God's salvation plan better. However I am quite sure that people who have become or yet become God's people such as born again Christians in this age will be able to travel to this and other planets with our resurrection or spiritual bodies after the rapture of the Church and see it first hand at probably about the speed of thought and most likely much more quickly than the speed of light. I personally hope that there will be use of technology including space exploration by God through His Son Jesus Christ during the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom after Jesus' second coming to earth to take over rule here although can't be absolutely sure how much He might use technology for the mortal people on earth then or allow them to use it. If God does allow advanced technology on earth or for space exploration for mortal people during the Millennial Kingdom He could allow development of advanced technology like the Alcubiere drive or warp or hyperspace drives that could allow getting to planets like LHS 1140b well within human life times which could allow more space exploration and colonization by the mortal people that come into the Messianic Kingdom (who survive the tribulation and place their faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God and don't take the mark of the beast or worship him or his image according to Revelation). There is talk that more immediately this planet LHS 1140 b could be near enough that it may be able to be examined for biosignatures that could indicate at least primitive life by the next large NASA space telescope the James Webb space telescope. It is due to be launched in late 2018. It should be capable to detect molecular oxygen, ozone, carbon dioxide, methane and other molecules in atmospheres of nearby planets especially transiting ones that could indicate that such a planet supports at least primitive life like earthly microbes.
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