The search for life beyond earth has been ongoing for generations. And as science and astronomy have advanced, new worlds that have the potential for life have been discovered beyond our solar system.

One of the most exciting discoveries in this field was one that was revealed last month featuring seven earth-like planets orbiting around a single star. The star Trappist-1 is an “ultra-cool dwarf star” in the constellation Aquarius that’s just a mere 39 light years away from earth. However, with so many exoplanets within its habitable zone, it represents an amazing opportunity for further investigation into whether or not there could be water, and therefore life, on any or all of the planets.

Now, it’s likely that you clicked on this article for a little bit of scientific insights, but mostly for the beer part, right? Ok, here’s the rest of the story.

You see, the fullness of the Trappist-1 system was discovered by Belgian astronomer Michael Gillon and a team from the University of Liege in Belgium. And they just so happened to name the planets and the system after their favorite kind of Belgian beer.

Via CNN:

TRAPPIST-1 is the name of a system of seven Earth-size planets orbiting a dwarf star “just” 40 light-years away. Three of the planets sit in the habitable zone of their star, making it possible they could support liquid water on the surface and sustain life.

The researchers also nicknamed each exoplanet — those that orbit stars outside our own solar system — after monastic Trappist beers like Rochefort, Orval and Westvleteren, some of which have been brewed for centuries.

“People remember it very well because (the name) is very peculiar and that it is linked to a Belgian project,” said astronomer Emmanuel Jehin.

Trappist beer bottles and exoplanet posters are proudly displayed inside team members’ modest offices at the University of Liège. A small “control room” with four computers is used to monitor their telescopes thousands of miles away in Chile and Morocco.

CNN also has another fascinating story up about the Trappist monks and their breweries, which contain very high and exclusive standards. In fact, there’s only 11 kinds of Trappist beers around the world and they have to be brewed within a Trappist monastery. In case you’re wondering how monks became involved in making beer, it’s to help support their living expenses and the upkeep of the monastery. Any profit is then given to charity or to promote social work.

And maybe the best part of this story is what the managing director of the abbey, Philippe Henroz, had to say about the Trappist breweries being linked with this huge scientific discovery:

Henroz made a clever case for water on the new TRAPPIST exoplanets: “For brewers, the most important thing is if they find water, because without water, we cannot make beer. If they find water, it is a very important thing for our brewers.”

Whenever we are able to travel at the speed of light and establish new colonies on these planets, the first order of business will obviously be to construct a Belgian monastery/brewery. Because if there’s anything the universe needs, it’s more Belgian monasteries/breweries.

[Picture via CNN]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.