New exoplanets have been discovered 39 light years from Earth. This is 3.689685e+14 kilometers. This is apparently a system with seven planets. There is such a big fuss about the possibility of life here, but the distance is massive. Traveling at 200,000,000 miles per hour, it would take 130 years to reach the system. If you were in an infinite rocket, traveling at 90,000 miles per hour, it would take 290,607 years to get there. That is a very long time indeed. And we do not even have the technology to travel at 200,000,000 miles per hour, so it does not even matter. They say they are right next door, but they are actually very far away on a cosmic scale. I mean, getting to Mars would take a while, but it is a hell of a lot closer than 39 light years away. And radio communications from Earth to Mars would only take an average of 20 minutes and not 39 years. So there is that. And the possibility of melting the poles to get a denser atmosphere and liquid water on the surface.
That is why we need space travel. We could explore the stars and find alien civilizations. That would be great. Conquering Mars would mean humanity could expand past it once there was a staging base there. Possibly fuel could be created there to build a larger spaceship, and launching from Mars would be easier as the gravity is one third that of Earth. Star Trek always had such an optimistic view of the future, with a united Earth that has expanded into space, but we are so divided now over race and religion. That needs to be dealt with before humanity can reach the stars and discover other cultures on distant planets. But first we need the technology to travel such massive distances in a meaningful time-span. Unless we could fold space like the Guild Navigators in Dune that used Holtzman engines and prescience to fold space and travel anywhere instantly, we will never be able to reach the far edges of our galaxy.
The star in question is TRAPPIST-1, this is a Jupiter sized dwarf star in the constellation of Aquarius. Such a small star would be very interesting to see up close. It would be far less bright than our yellow dwarf star. But this discovery is very exciting, there will be many more in the future as well.