A new discovery not far from our solar system could give us hope to start anew on another planet.
Scientists have made a tremendous discovery just outside our solar system that could change the future of our species. Astronomers have found planet that looks like it could be habitable circling around the star that is closest to us: Proxima Centauri, four light years away.
The planet, Proxima Centauri b, is in what astronomers call the “Golidlocks Zone,” which is a distance from its sun that makes it not too cold, not too hot, but just right for life. It means that we might possibly be able to find a second Earth should we destroy this one, or if we just want to expand beyond our home planet.
It will take us a while to get there. We don’t currently have the technology to travel the 25 trillion miles it would take. And there’s no guarantee that it’s actually habitable. It could have too thin or too thick of an atmosphere, or its atmosphere could crush us. But it’s an intriguing possibility that could be the next planet — after Mars — that we could inhabit.
The planet orbits its red planet star every 11 days, and its temperature would make liquid water possible. It’s larger than Earth, but not too much so.
“Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri,” a recent ESO statement reads. “The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us — and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the Solar System. A paper describing this milestone finding will be published in the journal Nature on 25 August 2016.
“Just over four light-years from the Solar System lies a red dwarf star that has been named Proxima Centauri as it is the closest star to Earth apart from the Sun. This cool star in the constellation of Centaurus is too faint to be seen with the unaided eye and lies near to the much brighter pair of stars known as Alpha Centauri AB,” it adds.