CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a nearby star — and these new worlds could hold life.

NASA and the Belgian-led research team announced the news Wednesday.

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This cluster of planets is 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. They circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter. Three planets are in the so-called habitable zone, where water and, possibly life, might exist. The others are right on the doorstep.

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Scientists say they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these planets could support some type of life.

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Last spring, the University of Liege’s Michael Gillon reported finding three planets around Trappist-1. Now the count is up to seven, and Gillon says there could be more.