So some time in the next 10-20 years we could have a probe out to TRAPPIST system.. but it might only be a few decades before we could launch a real colonization effort.
I think it's super-awesome that they finally found a solar system outside of ours that has not just one, but seven earth-sized planets orbiting its star. I'm not sure any of them would have an earth-like environment, but I think future explorers are up for any challenge, including visiting a set of extra-solar worlds like that.
My only real concern, is the fact that space exploration isn't progressing as fast as we had originally hoped. I mean, nobody's even bothered to go back to the moon since the early 70s, and the only real extreme exploration as been done with probes. Our technology in space travel also hasn't improved much. Astronauts today have almost the same problems as the ones in the 60s & 70s did, and it's really ridiculous that so little has been done in the past 40 years.
It's also bothersome that artificial gravity has not been discovered, because such a thing would be essential in long-term space travel of any kind. Chances are, any explorers that want to go to that particular star system, are going to have to go into cryo-sleep, and basically spend a few decades in a dormant state until they arrive at the system. It's a common issue that comes up, because frankly, our technology is just not that advanced yet, even with all the discoveries we're making today.
I think it might actually take another century to start interstellar exploring, possibly even two, at the rate we're going.
I agree, it is super awesome that astronomers have found further planetary systems resembling earth, although i think only three of the seven in the Trappist-1 system fall into that category and the star is 39.5 ly away.
The closest star to the Sun is Proxima Centauri at a distance of 4.23 ly and has also got a rocky planet sitting in the green zone where it is warm enough for liquid water and could even have an atmosphere.
A journey to Alpha Centauri and it's planet courtesy of European Southern observatory (ESO):
Technology for space travel is going ahead on many levels and we have a lot to learn before any reality of a deep venture into space. We haven't even conquered our abilities to survive in the depths of the oceans on earth and that would surely need be a prerequisite beforehand? Sending observational probes to make a closer reconnaissance of any potential planetary system should be our priority, similar to Nasa's New Horizons project, in order to ascertain whether or not the journey for mankind would be worth the effort. Terraforming technologies in the interim should be performed on the other planetoids in our solar system and preliminary research for sustainablity in a space vehicle has already begun onboard the ISS. Cryosleep is another topic for longterm journeys in spaceflight over such huge distances as you rightly say and i agree for your suggestion that it will be a century or two at the minimum before we are ready.
I was most delighted at what they found on Pluto. Like the fact that it had a "heart" 😉 thought that was cute. Or that it has an actual day & night cycle. We had always assumed Pluto would just have a dim twilight, due to its distance from the sun. Or that it was a boring ball of ice. However, it appears to be quite an interesting world, and so colorful!
There are 3 space technologies I really think we can invest in realistically.
1.) Orbital refueling stations for shuttles. That way, if a problem occurred, astronauts wouldn't be completely stranded out there in space, save for the ISS.
2.) Space Elevators. The concept is still up in the air, but with emerging nano-technology regarding carbon nano-tubes, it's a real possibility we might be able to build it in a few decades. It would make getting into space so much easier. That technology regarding hyper-loops might be a huge help too, in going up and down the elevator faster without a G-pull cost to the astronauts.
3.) Building colonies and launch pads on the moon. We actually have the technology to build a colony on the moon, we just don't have the money or a real plan just yet. If spaceships and launchpads were built on the moon, it would cost way less fuel to launch exploratory ships into the rest of the solar system. We could also the Regolith to make oxygen and water for the colonists.
So we're getting closer to going back to space, I just hate waiting.
I had a look at the latest SETI institute video on the subject of TRAPPIST-1 and the search for habitable planets and life with guest speaker Dr Gary H Blackwood. If you are interested here's the link: