Astronomers just discovered the closest possible Earth-like planet outside our solar system. It orbits our closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri. The planet is warm enough for liquid water, is almost certainly rocky and terrestrial, and could even have an atmosphere. At just 4.2 light years away, scientists are even wondering if this may be the closest home for life outside our solar system.
Proxima B [temporarily named] is roughly 30 percent larger than Earth, and closely orbits a star far cooler and smaller than our own. Following a month of rumors and hints, Proxima B was unveiled today in a paper in the journal Nature.
"What's amazing is how close it is," says Jeff Coughlin, a SETI astronomer working with NASA's Kepler planet-hunting mission, who was not involved in the discovery. "There's nothing in physics that would keep us from sending a probe to Proxima B within the next few decades, even with just current day technology."
Thursday, August 25, 2016
"Earth-Like Planet Found Orbiting the Nearest Star to the Sun"
"Proxima B is just a few light years from home."