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 although that case may be in doubt from recent ALMA microwave results 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.
In October 2020 it was reported on the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Habitable Exoplanets Catalog maintained by Professor Abel Mendez the discovery of new potentially habitable exoplanet Kepler 1649 c. Kepler 1649 c and its parent star is relatively distant from Earth at 301 light years. (The closest potentially habitable planets found are less than 20 light years from Earth.) This planet would be cooler and farther from the inner rim of the habitable zone around its star, although probably closer to the inner rim than Mars is to our sun's habitable zone since it is stated that the radiation or apparent brightness or luminosity of its star or sun at its distance is 0.75 times that of our sun or star at Earth's distance. (The Earth is regarded as relatively near the inner edge of the habitable zone around our sun.) Kepler 1649 c would therefore probably need some extent of atmosphere and some greenhouse gases in its atmosphere it if is still to be regarded as habitable or between 0 and 100 degrees Celcius at its surface. However Kepler 1649 c however is massive enough to most likely have an appreciable not excessive atmosphere and this atmosphere would likely include some greenhouse gases such as water (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) or ammonia (NH3) that would make the surface temperature on this planet at at least 0 degrees Celcius the melting point of water and that could be habitable for life , microbes or perhaps more advance life, as we know it on Earth. One point that is not so good about Kepler 1649 c is that it revolves around an M type or relatively low mass Red Dwarf type star. (According to Extrasolar Encyclopedia Kepler 1649's mass is about 0.219 times that of our sun or about 22% and its radius is 0.252 times that of our sun or about 25%. The bad things about Kepler 1649 c orbiting a red dwarf star is that Kepler 1649 c would likely be tidally locked to its parent star Kepler 1649 c and one side of this planet would always face its parent star and be in perpetual day while the other side away from its star would be in perpetual night but there would be ring of the surface between these days and night sides called the terminator where anything or anyone hypothetically on that part or zone of its surface would observe a perpetual twilight. The other bad part of Kepler 1649 c's parent star Kepler 1649 being a red dwarf is that Kepler 1649 could be very volatile or variable in its light output with frequent very intense stellar flares. This would be very dangerous to any life there and disruptive to its atmosphere althought there are some red dwarf stars that are quieter or more stable in their light output and not as theatening to any potential life. Kepler 1649 c, the planet, has a size or radius very similiar to that of Earth at 1.06 Earth radii or just slider larger than Earth. This could indicate its atmosphere wouldn't be that much greater in extent than Earth's so its surface temperature would probably be on average somewhat cooler than the surface temperature on Earth. According to Extrasolar Encycopedia, the year of Kepler 1649 c is relatively short at about 19.5 Earth days. However, even with this relatively short year and close distance to its parent star, Kepler 1649 c would still be comfortably within the habitable zone of its star since the average light output of its parent star is considerably less than that of our sun. Finally Professor Abel Mendez of University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo gives Kepler 1649 c a very appealing ESI (Earth Similiarity Index) value of 0.90 which is one of the top 5 highest values given to any planet even considering all other potentially habitable ones discovered so far. In contrast present Mars in our solar system has an ESI value of 0.64.
In conclusion, Kepler 1649 c would be a fairly attractive destination for possible future human explorers if great advances in space travel, robotic or crewed are achieved. These advances could include solar or light sails or uncrewed space travel or nuclear fusion for robotic or crewed space travel and the even more exotic possibility or faster than light travel with space warp propulsion such as the still theoretical Alcubierre Drive that works by warping space in front of a space craft in the desired direction of travel. This warp drive could be used for robotic or crewed missions if it is achieved. Kepler 1649 c being about 300 light years away from Earth would still be relatively distance from Earth even compared to the nearest potentially habitable exo-planets and it would take considerable time to get there compared to a longer usual human lifetime or around 70 or 80 earth years. However it is quite possible that at least the terminator zone around the boundary between the day and night sides of this planet could be habitable and perhaps larger regions of it if a continuing extensive atmosphere or even major ocean can transfer some of the heat from the day side to the other side of the planet always in the dark facing away from its parent star. Another positive feature of this planet for a possible distant future space expedition by human astronauts is that its size at just larger than Earth in radius and probably in mass if its density is similiar to Earth's would provide a gratitational pull on any astronauts or animals etc. that would not be that different or that much more difficult to live with or cope with that gravity on Earth's surface. However the significant possibility of frequent and intense stellar storms or flares would be very dangerous for any life, especially on the side facing the star, and for its atmosphere and any artificial base depending on electricity that could be overloaded from electrical surges on power lines. Humans or any other intelligent indigenous or visiting alien extraterrestrial physical life could likely at least set up a base on or just under the surface of this planet with the aid of some technology such as any cooling, heating or shielding from radiation. Kepler 1649 c could be a moderately appealing destination for born again Christians or bible believers of other ages in our resurrection bodies since it is fairly likely to have some level of habitability even to humans and would be relatively near to Earth although proximity to Earth would not be much of an issue to resurrected believers as its likely that faster than light or inter-dimensional travel could be achieved with the spiritual bodies we as born again Christians will have after the soon coming rapture or catching up to heaven of the true Church as in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and John 14 etc. It is possible there could be some native or indigenous life at least microbial and even more advanced life such as the counterparts of Earth's animal or planet life on Kepler 1649 c if the true God, the God of the Bible, has created physical life on that planet or alternately it could support such life brought there by Earthlings. It is much less likely scientifically or biblically that there is intelligent and spiritual with free will but with physical bodies native life on this planet compared to simpler life. However if there was such life any of their individuals who had sinned against one another or against the God of heavens and earth or of the universe would have to hear and respond to God's gospel or way of salvation through the substitutionary righteous work on the cross and resurrection from the dead on Earth of God's Son the Lord Jesus Christ. I think a holy angel, or a human being or an intelligent being of their race who lived on Earth would have to travel to their world and share the Christian means of salvation with them in their language for them to be saved and have eternal life with God and His people from Earth etc. if any intelligent mortal beings on Kepler 1649 c had sinned and needed salvation or their sins removed.
In October 2020 it was reported on the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Habitable Exoplanets Catalog maintained by Professor Abel Mendez the discovery of new potentially habitable exoplanet Kepler 1701 b. (Besides Kepler 1701, the parent star for this exoplanet is also called 2 MASS J19062613+4153216, WISE J190626.12+4153215, KIC 6428794 and KOI 4054 according to the NASA Exoplanet Archive Database. Kepler 1701 b and its parent star is quite distant from Earth, even by potentially habitable planet standards at 1904 light years. (The closest potentially habitable planets found are less than 20 light years from Earth.) This planet would be hotter and closer to the inner rim of the habitable zone around its star since it is stated that the radiation or apparent brightness or luminosity of its star or sun at its distance is 1.37 times that of our sun or star at Earth's distance. (The Earth is regarded relatively near the inner edge of the habitable zone around our sun.) Therefore Kepler 1701 b must not have too extensive an atmosphere, especially with greenhouse gases like water H2O, carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4), if it is still to be regarded as habitable at its surface (with a temperature of between 0 and 100 degrees Celcius or Centigrade). In addition, Kepler 1701 b has a measured radius or diameter 2.22 times that of Earth or more than twice as much as Earth so it is very likely to have a thicker atmosphere with a stronger greenhouse effect which could make at least its surface temperatures above 100 degrees Celcius and so no longer in a condition that could be considered habitable even for Earthlike microbes. One good thing about Kepler 1701 b, in regards to habitability though, is that it revolves around a K type star that are brighter and more massive than M type red dwarf stars. This means its parent star is probably not as volatile with intense stellar flares as is the case with many M class red dwarf stars. Another advantage for a potentially habitable planet in the habitable zone of a K type star is that the habitable zone and therefore this planet is likely beyond the distance from its star where tidal locking, one side of the planet always facing its parent star, occurs. This means that if the surface temperature of Kepler 1701 b is actually habitable it could be habitable over a significant part of its surface instead of just a ring on the terminator or edge of the planet between the perpetual day side and night side of a tidally locked planet. The year of Kepler 1701 b is somewhat similiar to Earth's year of 365 Earth days, with Kepler 1701 b's year as 169 Earth days. This indicates its' distance from its parent star is fairly similiar to Earth's distance from our sun and this would be much greater than the distance of potentially habitable planets around M type Red Dwarf stars. Lastly Professor Mendez gives a value of 0.71 for the ESI (Earth Similiarity Index) for Kepler 1701 b. This is on the lower end of the values for regarded potentially habitable planets with many others having values in the higher 0.7s or even 0.8s or low 0.9s. By contrast Mars in our solar system is given an ESI value of 0.64 which isn't too much lower than Kepler 1701 b.
In conclusion, Kepler 1701 b would not be the first choice for Earthlings to explore since it is particulary distant, although not the most distant, of known potentially habitable planets and would take considerable time to reach even with near light speed rockets or other propulsion even unmanned light or solar sails. If Kepler 1701 b has anything similiar to Earth for its density, it would have much greater surface gravity than on the surface of Earth and it would be much more burdensome and exhausting for humans or other large scale earth life or similiar life to our mammals or reptiles to move on its surface, especially its land surface. Kepler 1701 b would probably be too hot and have a much heavier atmospheric pressure than Earth at its surface due to its significantly greater size and likely mass than Earth's and this could mean its surface would not be habitable naturally for humans without an artificially cooled structures and it could even be too hot for Earthlike microbes if its surface temperature is too much above 100 degrees Celcius or the boiling point of water on Earth. Although I believe its distance would not be a problem for Christians or believers in the true God of the Bible in our resurrection bodies or spiritual bodies to reach Kepler 1701 b still might not provide as appealing or habitable environment to bible believers or those of us human beings who have become or yet become the Creator God's restored children to explore as other known or some yet to be discovered at least potentially habitable planets. It is possible there could be indigenous or native life at least microbial on this planet, especially if it isn't too dense and it doesn't have too extensive atmosphere or surface temperature, but if it does have a surface temperature much above 100 degrees Centigrade any indigenous life on its surface would probably have to be based on something different than the Carbon based DNA of Earth life and dependence upon water of most Earth life but instead on some other chemical elements and molecules. As a bible believing Christian I would not have any problem accounting for God creating any indigenous life on this planet based on God's word - the Holy Bible especially microbial, planet or non-intelligent (based on instinct instead of free will) life on this planet but it would be somewhat more difficult to explain on a bible basis for any indigenous physical intelligent and spirit possessing life on this Kepler 1701 b or any other extraterrestrial world in order to account for how God could manage to save any indigenous physical intelligent free-will or spirit possessing beings there as either Jesus the Son of God's death on earth and resurrection would have to count for payment of their sins as well or Jesus would have to become incarnate as one of their race and die in a body of one of their race and rise again and if Jesus' death on the cross on Earth and resurrection from the dead on Earth was to count for their sins in God's sight they would somehow need messengers human, angelic or one of their race to come from Earth to them and preach the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ to them in their language(s) for them to be saved. This would be similiar for salvation to be possible to any intelligent extraterrestrial beings who live on any other planet than Earth to be saved and have eternal life and not be condemned eternally in the Creator God's sight.
In October 2020, University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Professor Abel Mendez announced on his Habitable Exoplanets Catalog the potentially habitable planet Gliese 229 A c. This planet is the second found so far around the larger component of the double star system Gliese 229. This star is about 19.5 light years from Earth which is quite close by astronomical or instellar standards. The parent star is a brighter and more massive red dwarf star at about 0.58 solar masses or about 58% of the mass of our sun. This star is probably not a very highly variable star since it is a more massive red dwarf star with a higher average brightness or luminosity for a red dwarf star. Gliese 229 A c would be near the outer edge of the habitable zone around its parent star Gliese 229 since the apparent luminosity of its parent star at the distance of Gliese 229 A c is only 0.53 times that of the apparent luminosity or brightness of our sun at the Earth's distance or about 53%. The potentially habitable planet in this system Gliese 229 A c is quite massive at around 7.27 earth masses. This most likely means it has a much more substantial atmosphere than Earth likely including some greenhouse gases such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) or ammonia (NH3) or others. The most likely very extensive atmosphere around Gliese 229 A c that likely includes substantial amounts of greenhouse gases would help warm the temperature at its surface significantly above what it would otherwise have and make it more capable to be able to support or have liquid water on its surface and a temperature range between 0 and 100 degrees Celcius. The parent star Gliese 229 A being a very heavy red dwarf would mean that it is much more possible that this potentially habitable planet and the habitable zone, especially the outer part where Gliese 229 A c lies, to be beyond the distance range to Gliese 229 A that would bring about tidal locking of the same side of the planet to its parent star. This would mean that there would less likely be extreme variations of radiation received from the parent star from opposite sides of the planet since the planet possibly rotates with a different period than it revolves around the parent star. Gliese 229 A c has a relatively long year of about 122 earth days and is at a distance of 0.339 AU or times the average Earth Sun distance. This all resulted in Professor Mendez in giving Gliese 229 A c a relatively low Earth Similiarity Index of 0.62 that is just slightly lower than the planet Mars in our solar system currently has with an ESI value of 0.64.
In conclusion, Gliese 229 A c would not be a priority destination for possible human astronauts to explore, even though it is very close to Earth. This is particularly because it is likely either cold or under an overly extensive atmosphere which likely could include gases not breathable to humans. Gliese 229 A c could likely be reached within a human lifetime or 70 or 80 years with a spacecraft going about 20% of the speed of light if technologies like light sails or nuclear fusion rockets could be mastered or even more so if technology for the Alcubierre space warp propulsion could be developed and mastered. This planet could have surface temperatures between 0 and 100 degrees celcius but it is hard to say how the likely thick atmosphere with likely substantial greenhouse effect would balance the planet's position relatively near the outer rim of Gliese 229 A's habitable zone. The surface gravity on Gliese 229 A c would likely be significantly greater than on Earth to the point of being uncomfortable to any potential human astronauts seeking to explore or colonize this planet. I don't think volatile stellar flares or tidal locking would be too much of a problem for habitability of this planet even though its parent star is a red dwarf since its parent star Gliese 229 A is a very heavy red dwarf and almost in the mass range of the next heavier K type stars. Gliese 229 A c could quite possibly support counterparts of microbial life on Earth especially the more exotic extremophile microbes if Gliese 229 A c's atmosphere has primarily other gases than Oxygen or Carbon Dioxide as on Earth but I think it is somewhat unlikely there would be larger scale counterparts of Earth's plants or animals on this planet. There are likely some of the extremophile microbes or bacteria on Earth that could survive on Gliese 229 A c. It probably wouldn't be too difficult for Earthlings or any other native or visiting extraterrestrials that might exist to construct living quarters on this planet at least in terms of constructing needed cooling or heating systems as I don't think the surface temperature would be very far from the habitable range of 0 to 100 degrees Celcius but at least for humans the surface gravity of perhaps twice that on Earth would seem quite oppressive especially after a stay of much length but some crawling insects or reptiles or ocean life if it has oceans might better adjust to life there. Humans that come to have resurrected or spiritual or heavenly bodies as in 1 Corinthians 15 after the soon coming rapture of the Church or true Christians could certainly adjust on the surface of this planet, but Gliese 229 A c still might not be the most Earth friendly habitable planet to resurrected true Christians or Old Testament or Tribulation believers in the true God because of its possibly thick atmosphere and high surface gravity. Of course if it turns out that the surface of Gliese 229 A c does have very habitable conditions to human like intelligent life and there is any native or indigenous physical intelligent life there if they sinned againt our Creator God Jehovah or Yahweh the God of the Bible, God would have to arrange to somehow get the message of His righteousness providing salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ on Earth to any intelligent life on this planet Gliese 229 A c. This would likely require either a holy angel, a human Earthling Christian, or an alien native of Gliese 229 A c who had visited Earth and understood the gospel of God's only begotten Son Jesus Christ to go and live with beings of Gliese 229 A and share the saving Gospel of the true God through His Son Jesus Christ in one or more of their languages for any hypothetical inhabitants of this planet Gliese 229 A c to have eternal life and not eternal condemnation and to be restored children of the God of heaven and earth.
In January 2020, NASA and others announced the discovery, using the NASA TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satelite), of a very intriguing potentially habitable planet. This planet is designated TOI (TESS obect of interest) 700d and is one of three planets discovered around the star TOI 700. This star is about 100 light years from our solar system of about apparent magnitude 13 and is in the far southern constellation Dorado - the Swordfish. According to reports of the discovery of this new potentially habitable planet from NASA Goddard division, Space.com and www.drewexmachina.com the parent star is a red dwarf on the heavier (and brighter) side with about 40 % the mass of and radius of our sun. Images of this star examined in astronomical surveys in looking back several years showed no substantial stellar flares from the parent star TOI 700 indicating this is a very quiet or non-volatile star especially relative to other red dwarf stars which can sometimes have very frequent and powerful stellar flares.
The planet itself, TOI 700d, has an orbital period (year) of about 37 days at an average distance of 0.16 AU or 16% of the average earth sun distance. These values for TOI 700d within its star's habitable zone are quite small relative to Earth because its (TOI 700d's) parent star TOI 700 is much fainter or less luminous than our sun. The size or radius of TOI 700d was measured by TESS to be about 1.22 times that of Earth according to the article at www.drewexmachina.com as calculated by astronomers led by Emily Gilbert at University of Chicago and Joseph Rodriguez at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University Smithsonian Institution. It is estimated this planet has a mass of about 2.25 times that of Earth according to Exoplanet Encyclopedia. TOI 700d also is subject to light from its parent star TOI 700 that is 86% what we on Earth receive from our sun. Also it is thought likely, but not certain, that TOI 700d is tidally locked to its parent star that is it always has the same face of its surface facing its parent star and the same opposite side facing away from its parent star. However, fortunately it is now thought by many astronomers or astrophysicists that such tidally locked planets are still in more likely conditions for being potentially habitable than they were thought at first by astronomers before better planetary habitability models were available. Another study, in this case more theoretical, of TOI 700d was carried out by astrophysicists at NASA Goddard Department in Greenbelt, Maryland with putting the known criteria of TOI 700d such as its size, type of parent star and brightness of parent star and assumed likely condition that it is tidally locked to its parent star into models of possible atmospheres for the planet TOI 700d. These models are based on different initial pressures and some different component gases in the planet's atmosphere and model or predict both the development over time and the possible current condition of the atmosphere and surface conditions of TOI 700d. In all 20 scenarios TOI 700d was shown to be potentially habitable at least to especially hardy or very adaptive earth life like bacteria and in some of the models to less easily adaptable life like large animals or even humans with resulting temperatures less than 100 degrees Centigrade or the boiling point of water to at least in some points on its surface slightly below the freezing point of water or 0 degrees centigrade. In particular the range of temperatures in these models of TOI 700d were between 91 degrees Centrigrade and -36 degrees Centigrade with none of the 20 model scenarios for TOI 700d indicating it would be affected by a runaway greenhouse effect that would boil off any liquid water on its surface etc. Some of these scenarios gave a heavy CO2 or carbon dioxide atmospher or another with a mostly dry surface. TOI 700 d is given an exceptional and very appealing value of 0.93 for its Earth Similiary Index (ESI),the second highest of any planet so far, by University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Professor Abel Mendez. TOI 700d is the first potentially habitable planet detected by the TESS mission and there will likely be more to come as it continues to observe or re-observe planets. TESS will likely re-observe the TOI 700 system in the future to better determine some of its properties such as its orbit and size and brightness of its parent star. Some leading ground based telescopes, especially in combination, could give a more directly determined value for TOI 700d's mass and therefore its density to determine for sure whether it is a rocky planet or perhaps with a more significant gas or atmosphere component. Unfortunately, according to the scientists in these articles, the upcoming James Webb space telescope would not be able to determine the existence or composition of any atmosphere of TOI 700d but perhaps the larger and more massive associated planet TOI 700c could be within range of the James Webb or following space telescopes and that could still give more information about the stellar system of the potentially habitable planet TOI 700d.
Concerning prospects for life on this newly discovered potentially habitable planet TOI 700d including from such a Biblical Christian and science based perspective as I have there could certainly be life on its surface based on what we know so far. Of course, this life would most likely be just microbial or like Earthly microbial or single-cell life since they can withstand more extreme temperatures and other environmental conditions. Life on TOI 700d being limited to only microbes would be much more likely if its actual average surface conditions are closer to the more extreme values in the 20 NASA Goddard planetary models near 91 degrees Celcius or -35 degrees Celcius. However, if the actual average temperatures on TOI 700d are more in the middle of this range and closer to temperatures on Earth where life does thrive such as between about -20 degrees Celcius and +40 degrees Celcius and especially if there is also liquid water on the surface there, then there could be more complex life on its surface the equivalent of both our plant and animal life. Optimal and still possible conditions on the surface of TOI 700d based on what we know so far could even allow for an environment that could support intelligent mortal life although this would be a long-shot. Also a near optimal temperature and other surface conditions on TOI 700d would allow for future human astronauts (or cosmonauts or taikonauts etc.) to reach and set up a base on the surface of TOI 700d if humans ever develop warp drive or hyperdrive space propulsion technology such as the Alcubierre drive. However humans are still a long way from development of such technology and also having the general political, social and economic committment to bring it to realization. Light sails or controlled nuclear power especially nuclear fusion based on hydrogen such as the British Interplanetary Society's previous concept study Project Daedalus could reach about 20% of the speed of light with robotic or crewed spacecraft respectively and reach TOI 700d in a couple hundred years and send back pictures or other data to earth of it. However, as a bible believing Christian considering many things going on now on Earth and current trends and Bible prophecy I don't think our society or civilization on Earth will last much longer before major last days Bible prophecy events happen. These are namely the pre-tribulation rapture or catching up to heaven of all true Christians, then the world-wide tribulation with a Satanic world dictator the Antichrist and the judgments of God for sin of people, then the glorious coming to earth to rule this earth of God's Son Jesus Christ to set up a near ideal society under God in the Millennial Kingdom. All those of us who get our heavenly or resurrection bodies starting at the rapture could explore planets like TOI 700d that are habitable even in this body's physical mode and get there by the spiritual mode like Jesus' resurrection body already demonstrated.
In August 2019 astronomers announced 3 planets around the nearby, about 12 light years away, star Gliese 1061. This star system is located in the small southern sky constellation Horologium. Gliese 1061 is unfortunately a flare star like the nearest star Promixa Centauri but without as extreme stellar flare activity. The star Gliese 1061 is a red dwarf star with about 12% of the mass and about just over 15% of the radius of our star the sun and is a red dwarf star. A primary alternative designation for this star is L(uytens) 372-58. These three Gliese 1061 planets were found as part of the Red Dots project that is focused on finding earth mass or close to earth mass planets around nearby red dwarf stars by the doppler or radial velocity planet search method where the difference in the parent star's velocity towards or away from Earth is measured carefully to try to detect the gravitational effects of any orbiting planets. The masses of the three planets around Gliese 1061 vary from about 1.4 to about 1.8 earth masses which means that all likelihood they are all terrestrial planets with solid surfaces and probably similiar extent of atmosphere as earth ( although especially the planets closer to their sun could have somewhat more extensive atmospheres like our solar system planet Venus does). The three planets all have very short years with orbital periods of 3.2, 6.7 and 12.4 days for the planets Gliese b, c and d respectively. Gliese 1061 c is just within the optimistic part of the habitable zone around Gliese 1061 while Gliese b is beyond the inner edge of the habitable zone and would be too close to its parent star for liquid water to remain on its surface. Probably all three of these planets would be tidally locked, or always having the same face towards the parent star Gliese 1061, since the habitable zone is usually within the tidal locking limit for low mass and low brightness or luminosity red dwarf stars like Gliese 1061. Gliese 1061 d is the most habitable of the three Gliese 1061 planets and its average distance is right in the middle of the habitable zone of Gliese 1061 and its mass of about 1.5 earth mass means it would likely be able to maintain liquid water on its surface for at least most of its year or orbit. One other main problem for habitability for all three of these planets, but especially for the most interesting one Gliese 1061 d, is that they all have very elliptical or oval rather than circular orbits. Gliese 1061 b and c have orbits somewhat more elliptical than Mercury or Pluto in our solar system while Gliese 1061 d has an eccentricity (extent that it is elliptical between 0.0 circular and 1.0) of 0.54. The other two have eccentricity values between 0.20 and 0.35. As a result I don't know if Gliese 1061 d would be in the habitable zone for its complete orbit or year. However I have heard that its average or mean distance from its parent star is such that it gets almost the same amount of average energy as the Earth does from our sun. However the light or radiation these Gliese 1061 planets would get from their parent stars would be concentrated more in the red and infrared (heat) parts of the spectrum. Even with all this situation it is quite likely that especially Gliese 1061 d could support microbial and even some larger or more complex life such as moss or lichen and perhaps something more complex in plants or animals if it has a suitable atmosphere and liquid water or some liquid that could act in the place of water but we so far don't have any evidence of any life there and it is not guaranteed even if the conditions such as the atmosphere are right for it.
From a biblical Christian viewpoint, such as I have, although there are some parts of God's word - the Holy Bible that don't speak about physical life beyond Earth (or extraterrestrial life) as mentioned above there is a biblical term or phrase that allows for such life. That is the expression (God created etc.) the heavens and the earth (and sometimes the sea (of earth) and the things therein (or the hosts of them). Certainly this expression includes the life on earth and in the seas of earth but it is uncertain whether it also refers to livig things in the astronomical heavens. As alternative for the things in heaven could be just the inanimate or non-living things there like stars, planets, moons, galaxies, nebula, molecules, comets etc. but the things in heaven could include both the above inanimate things and animate or living things like the equivalent of microbes, or even plants or animals etc. but we can't be definite especially when modern science hasn't found any extraterrestrial life for sure beyond earth especially that is native to that world and distinct from Earth life. In my opinion there would then be no problem if life was found, such as its effect on the atmosphere of Gliese 1061 d or some other potentially habitable planet, on Gliese 1061 d (or c) if it wasn't intelligent life. This is because I believe only humans of physical life on earth or perhaps elsewhere have eternal spirits and free-will and are made in the image of our Creator God and would need to be saved or redeemed if they (as humans on earth have) fall into rebellion against the true God and acquire a sinful including selfish nature or inclination. (I believe animals on Earth have souls (feelings or emotions) and instinct (related to the mind etc.) but not spirits and free will and that plants or microbes have neither spirit or soul although microbes could have instincts.) It would certainly be very interesting and educational to search for life, even more primitive microbial life, especially to find any life on Gliese 1061 d or c by checking for biosignatures such as gases that could be produced by life like methane (CH4) or molecular oxygen (O2) or by sending a human made spacecraft such as a solar sail or nuclear powered rocket in close vicinity with cameras and spectroscopic equipment. However the next thing to do with this star system would be to check in general whether it has planets with atmospheres and they have the right extent and composition from telescopes on or in the vicinity of Earth. If Gliese 1061 d or c was found to have any intelligent or human like life with language and science and technology and free-will from a Christian viewpoint they would somehow have to be saved through God's Son Jesus Christ. This would probably be by somehow bringing the message of what Jesus did on earth to pay for sins to them if God would count Jesus death on the cross for their sins too as well as for all human beings. The only other alternative would be for God's Son (Jesus Christ) to incarnate as one of their race on their planet to die for particularly the sins and rise again to provide new life of any intelligent and spiritual beings on one of these Gliese 1061 planets for their salvation and restoration to the Creator God. For them to hear the message of Jesus' work of salvation on Earth, if the true Creator God in Three Persons allowed that, they would need holy angels or humans caught up in spirit who witnessed or came to know of Jesus' work of salvation on Earth to tell hypothetical intelligent but falled life on one of these Gliese 1061 or similiarly for other extraterrestrial races of God's salvation through His Son Jesus Christ carried out on our planet Earth. Especially the more habitable planet Gliese 1061 d could be a good target for future astronauts from Earth to visit or colonize if it is at least somewhat habitable or inhabited by some non intelligent or benign life if God allows this technology for humans in the soon coming Millennial or Messianic Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ on Earth after His Second Coming in glory. I don't think humans would have the capability before as we are not close now or in the forseeable future to have faster than light or even close to the speed of light spacecraft and I don't think there would be enough time to develop such technology in the little time left in this present Church Age and the following about 7 years of the tribulation before the Second Coming to earth of God's Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
In mid-June 2019, astronomers published information about two potentially habitable planets around the red-dwarf star Teegarden's Star. Teegarden's Star is also known by its alternate stellar catalogue designations SO J025300.5 +165258, GAT 1370 and 2 MASS J0253084 +1652532. It is at stellar co-ordinates RA (Right Ascension) 02: 53: 01.0 or 2 degrees 53 minutes and 1 seconds and Declination +16: 52: 53 or +16 degrees (North) 52 minutes and 53 seconds. Right ascension is like celestial longitude while declination is like celestial latitude. These co-ordinates put Teegarden's Star in the constellation Aries. Even the star Teegarden's Star is quite faint and was only discovered by astronomers in 2003 by a team led by Bonnard Teegarden of NASA Goddard Space Centre according to an article Habitable Planet Reality Check: The Earth-Size Planets of Teegarden's Star by Drew Ex-machina. This means Teegarden's Star at its distance of about 12.5 light years has an apparent magnitude of about 15 since it has a brightness or luminosity of 0.0007295 solar luminosity or about 7 tenthousanths of the sun or about 0.07 percent of our sun's brightness. Also much more of the light from Teegarden's Star is in the red or infrared part of the spectrum than for our sun. Teegarden's Star and its planets or stellar system is about 12.5 light years from earth and our solar system with 1 light year equal to just less than 6 trillion miles. Teegarden's Star is a very faint and light red dwarf star at spectral category M7.0 and a mass of 0.089 solar masses, a radius of about 0.107 solar radii and a surface temperature of just under 3000 degrees Kelvin or about 2700 degrees Celsius. Even though Teegarden's Star is a faint red dwarf it seems to be quite old and is very regular in its brightness especially compared to very volatile red dwarf stars like Proxima Centauri for which habitable zone planets have been found and have very strong stellar flares.
The planets for Teegarden's Star were found by the CARMENES project at the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain by a team led by University of Gottingen astronomer Mathias Zechmeister with observations over a little over 3 years. This team determined that Teegarden's Star has (at least) two planets and the discovered planets are both in the habitable zone of Teegarden's Star. One planet Teegarden b has a year of about 4.9 earth days and the other planet a little further from the star Teegarden c has a year of about 11.4 days. This means that these planets get about 1.15 and 0.37 times as much energy or radiation from their parent star as the Earth does from our sun or star. The mass of Teegarden b is 1.05 earth masses and the mass of Teegarden c is about 1.11 earth masses and according to Professor Abel Mendez of the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo the Earth Similiarity Index for these two planets are 0.95 and 0.68. 0.95 is the highest value of any of the potentially habitable planets known and listed in his catalogue of just over 50 potentially habitable planets. Teegarden b is located near the inner edge of the habitable zone of Teegarden's Star while Teegarden c is located just beyond the middle of the habitable zone. The radius of size of these planets is not yet known so more exact figures for their densities can't yet be calculated but with masses for each of these planets only slightly more than earth's they are most likely to be rocky planets. Both planets are also likely to be tidally locked or facing the same side always to their parent star Teegarden's Star. However on page 5 of the article by Drew Exmachina he says, and I have heard this now elsewhere, that planets being tidally locked is not considered such a huge barrier to habitability by astronomers it was before. Due to Teegarden's Star very close distance from Earth and its promising potentially habitable planets it would be a good candidate to check out by the soon to be launched James Webb Space telescope for the extent and composition of the atmosphere of its planets to further determine their habitability.
What this all means is that there is a good chance these Teegarden's Star planets could be habitable or even inhabited at least by the equivalent of earth's microbes with Abel Mendez of The Planetary Habitability Laboratory calculating there is about a 60% chance that Teegarden b has a surface temperature between 0 and 50 degrees Celsius and that this temperature would most likely be around 28 degrees Celsius. Although this is still considerably hotter than Earth there could at least be some places on its surface than even humans or Earthly plants or animals could survive if it has a suitable atmosphere etc. Such a temperature range would not be a problem for many earthly bacteria or microbes to survive as there are some earthly bacteria than can even survive regular temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius. The estimated surface temperature of Teegarden c is about -47 degrees Celsius based on Teegarden c having an atmosphere similiar to Earth's. This might not be fully habitable but there are parts of Earth where even people, plants and some animals survive colder temperatures than that in the winter such as in polar regions. If there is physical life on planets beyond Earth in this universe or astronomical heavens there is a good possibility there could be at least microbial life on Teegarden b and perhaps more advanced life similiar to our plant or animal life although God would have to design it have adapted to mostly red light from its star compared to mostly green light we get from our sun. This means any plants there might have to be based on something a little different than chlorophyl that is used in photosynthesis on Earth. If there are any physical extraterrestrials, which I doubt both from like of scientific evidence such as of SETI radio signals or that the Bible doesn't mention it as a strong possibility, they could probably thrive on such a planet as Teegarden b and perhaps Teegarden c if it has a more extensive atmosphere. The expression in the Bible used about a dozen times in both the Old and New Testaments of God's creation and operation of the universe "the heavens and the earth and the things (or host) therein" could include life even intelligent life in the heavens (including second or astronomical heavens) as well as earth but it is probably more likely the things in heaven mean more inanimate things such as stars, planets and galaxies or asteroids. The clearest reference to such a scripture verse for salvation of any humanoid race that might exist on another planet and have sinned against our Creator God is Colossians 1:20. This verse says: "And having made peace through the blood of his (Jesus') cross, by him (Jesus the Son of God) to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or in heaven." This verse is usually interpreted by conservative Bible teachers to have the things in heaven refer to believers who have died and whose spirits have gone to the third or highest heaven in God's presence or that the part about reconciling the heavens means God reconciling the inanimate things in the astronomical heavens like planets and stars made unclean be the sin of Adam and Eve or of the rebellion of Satan or Lucifer and a third of the angels that joined his rebellion against God with these fallen angels also being some of the spiritual host of heaven. However Colossians 1:20 might be a verse in God's Word the Holy Bible that allows for even intelligent or spiritual mortal extraterrestrial life and God's reconciling or saving them through bringing His message of salvation through Jesus to them. These Teegarden's planets could also likely support any far distant human astronauts without too much problem to set up a base or colony there, especially on Teegarden b, if their atmosphere's are suitable to humans and earthlife as well. Teegarden's Star could also now be a prime target for initial direct robotic close range examination by such projects at Yuri Milner's light sail Project Starshot if some of the laser, radio communication and solar sail material technology breakthroughs happen sometime soon. As a bible-believing Christian it would be more difficult to account for intelligent or spiritual humanoid life on another planet such as either of these Teegarden planets but not impossible. This would certainly be more difficult to account for the presence of any extraterrestrial animals that I believe have souls and instinct but not eternal spirits and free-will like humans. If such intelligent and spiritual mortal beings had sinned against God (as defined in His word the Holy Bible) they would need to be saved too and I think it would be more likely that God's salvation in His Son Jesus Christ and His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead on Earth would have to apply and be heard by such hypothetical human-like residents on one of these Teegarden's Star planets than that Jesus as the Son of God would also have to be incarnated there as one of their race and die and rise again. Humans caught up from earth to such a planet as one of these Teegarden's Star planets or holy angels could convey the message of salvation through God's Son Jesus Christ to any intelligent and eternal spiritual mortal residents on these stars if they exist if it is God's will. I don't think the likely fact that any humanoid residents on these stars are not descended from the first humans on Earth Adam and Eve would be a problem because even though Jesus according to the flesh was descended from Adam and Eve he was specifically descended from Abraham and Sarah who started the Israelite and Jewish people but God sees fit to have people of all ethnic groups or of all nations on earth to have salvation available to us through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of the Church as well as King of Israel.
Although four planets around the neaby, about 12 light years away, solar type star Tau Ceti have been considered to be real by most astronomers for some time there were none that were considered habitable. This is because two of the remaining real planets are well beyond the inner edge of the habitable zone and two other planets Tau Ceti e and f were thought to be just beyond the inner and outer edges of the habitable zone of Tau Ceti respectively. However by now astronomers, including a leading astronomer on habitable planets Professor Abel Mendez of University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo and Planetary Habitability Laboratory, have determined that both Tau Ceti e and f follow somewhat more eliptical or oval orbits that thought before. This means they both spend at least part of their time in the habitable zone of Tau Ceti. However Tau Ceti e spends much more, about two thirds of its orbit, in the habitable zone and is considered now to be potentially habitable. Tau Ceti f is still not considered to be potentially habitable but probably doesn't miss that standard by much. However by potentially habitable astronomers mean, including in these cases, that there could be liquid water on their surface and such planets could at least support the equivalent of earthly bacteria or other simple life on their surface. That a planet is called potentially habitable does not necessarily mean that such a planet could support larger scale life such as large scale earthly plants, animals or even humans on its surface although there are some potentially habitable planets where this could still be true. The masses of both Tau Ceti e and f, at the values they are now thought to have, would be consistent with them being rocky planets and not having excessive atmospheres. They are both thought now to have masses of about 3.8 earth masses which is below the cutoff mass for terrestrial planets which is now thought to be between 4.5 and 5.0 earth masses. Tau Ceti e received an amount of radiation from its parent star Tau Ceti that is intermediate between that received by the planets Venus and Earth in our solar system as can be seen in a diagram at Professor Abel Mendez' web site Planetary Habitability Laboratory. The about two thirds of the orbit of Tau Ceti e that is within the parent star's habitable zone is only within the inner part of the habitable zone and Tau Ceti e could probably only support especially on its surface the equivalent of earthly single celled organisms or microbes although if humans as interstellar astronauts ever achieve the ability of interstellar space exploration and colonization it would probably not be difficult to build life support systems suitable for humans either on the surface or below the surface of Tau Ceti e as its average temperature is moderately habitable and it probably doesn't have as much temperature extremes as our Moon since Tau Ceti e most likely has a significant atmosphere which would moderate temperatures there. Tau Ceti e is beyond the outer limit of tidal locking around the star Tau Ceti and Tau Ceti as a sun-like star is not significantly more volatile with stellar flares etc. than our sun. So this planet Tau Ceti e will be an interesting nearby extra-solar planet to explore further both for its physical and chemical characteristics and the possibility it could realistically have liquid water or even some simple life or biological activity on its surface if our Creator God has created physical life beyond Earth in the universe.
In November 2018 an approximately 3 earth mass planet was announced around the very nearby red dwarf star Barnard's Star. Although Barnard's star is a red dwarf star is still quite faint and not visible to the naked eye on Earth it is still one of the closest stars at 5.9 light years away. Only the three stars of the Alpha Centauri including Proxima Centauri system and our own sun are closer stars to Earth. Unfornunately the new planet around Barnard's Star is well beyond the outer boundary of the habitable zone there and would most likely be frozen and not capable of supporting life as we know it requiring liquid water. This Barnard's Star is confirmed with about 99% certainty with over 700 mostly consistent measurements over about 18 years with a couple major telescopes. Barnard's Star due to its proximity to Earth is often mentioned in science fiction so this is a very good case of science fact catching up with science fiction regarding planets around the same star.
At least one planet has been confirmed around the star 40 Eridani A or Omicron 2 Eridani or HD 26965 or Gliese 166 and in science fiction is usually the star Keid from which the main character the Vulcan Spock is supposed to have come from a planet of. The planet was called Vulcan. The actual planet found so far around this star 40 Eridani A is however around 8 earth masses and has a year of about 40 earth days which means for that star it is somewhat beyond the inner edge of the habitable zone and would therefore be too hot and perhaps too massive for life especially intelligent life in reality. However other planets could be found soon around this star that are somewhat less massive and further out and of more benign temperatures. Spock and other Vulcans are said to have green blood based on copper. Blood based on copper is not only theoretically possible for life it is actually the second most common type of blood on earth after the typical iron based blood with haemoglobin that humans and almost all or all mammals and perhaps some other land animals have. Horseshoe crabs, I think lobsters, many mollusks and perhaps octopus have copper based life on earth or in earth's seas to be more particular. 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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