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NASA / AP

Results from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest there could be substantial amounts of water on some of the seven, Earth-sized planets orbiting the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, which is 40 lightyears away, according to a Hubble Space Telescope press release.

Why it matters: Three of these planets fall within Trappist-1's 'habitable zone', which means the planets are the right distance from their star to theoretically support life. When they were discovered earlier this year, scientists suspected there would be water on these planets, but this is the first evidence that it hasn't been all been blown away by the star's radiation.

MIT's Julien de Wit, a co-author on the study: "This concludes that a few of these outer planets could have been able to hold onto some water, if they accumulated enough during their formation. But we need to gather more information and actually see a hint of water, which we haven't found yet."

How it happened: Scientists speculate that the planets were born in the icy outer reaches of their system, and captured water as they were born. When ultraviolet radiation from a star hits a planet's atmosphere, it can break up water there into its constituents oxygen and hydrogen, which can then escape the atmosphere and be detected as an indicator of water. The Hubble researchers used the telescope to measure UV radiation from the star and found that enough was emitted that the inner planets may have lost most of any water that was once there, but three outer planets could still hold water today.

Go deeper

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

4 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).