New observations confirm Earth-like planet orbiting nearest star


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

Worlds without end: New observations have confirmed the existence of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri, only 4.2 light years away..

The planet, Proxima b, is estimated to have a mass 1.17 of Earth’s, and orbit the star every 11.2 days. Based on that orbit, the planet is also in the star’s habitable zone. Whether there is life there however remains unknown.

Although Proxima b is about 20 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, it receives comparable energy, so that its surface temperature could mean that water (if there is any) is in liquid form in places and might, therefore, harbour life.

Having said that, although Proxima b is an ideal candidate for biomarker research, there is still a long way to go before we can suggest that life has been able to develop on its surface. In fact, the Proxima star is an active red dwarf that bombards its planet with X rays, receiving about 400 times more than the Earth. “Is there an atmosphere that protects the planet from these deadly rays?” asks Christophe Lovis, a researcher in UNIGE’s Astronomy Department and responsible for ESPRESSO’s scientific performance and data processing. “And if this atmosphere exists, does it contain the chemical elements that promote the development of life (oxygen, for example)? How long have these favourable conditions existed? We’re going to tackle all these questions.

The research data also suggests there might be another planet in orbit around Proxima Centauri, though this conclusion is very preliminary.

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5 comments

  • Squints

    Rut roh. Alpha Ceti 6.

  • Max

    Huh?
    Ceti Alpha VI, a fictional planet mentioned in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?

    Every 11 days is very close to the sun, it would pass through atmosphere/solar flares easily.
    Mercury takes 88 days to go around the sun, our moon 29 days. The tidal effects alone would most likely melt the surface just like Io which orbits Jupiter every 1.76 days.

  • pzatchok

    We need to start looking for low gravity bodies with high levels of metals.

    Bodies massive enough to form themselves round and at most with 1/4 of Earths gravity.
    Bodies just large enough to make mining metals easy and with just enough gravity to make refining it easy.

    Once we can travel the stars colonies on Earth like planets are a luxury but not a necessity.

  • Ironwood

    Probably tidally locked and perhaps even molten due to tidal flexing. Don’t make vacation plans just yet.

  • Star Bird

    To find Planet X we must follow along all the planets in Alphabetical Order like plAnets A-B-C-D then we find Alpha Centari and the Jupiter 2

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