Not very far from earth, scientists have discovered a new planet known as Proxima B.
CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.
Proxima B: New planet discovered by scientistsNot very far from earth, scientists have discovered a new planet known as Proxima B. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.
People are excited because it is not only close to our solar system, but it may in fact be very similar to earth. It is only slightly larger than our planet and likely has a rocky surface.
Most importantly, it orbits its sun at the right distance to create a similar temperature range as Earth, which means that it is possible Proxima B contains water. With liquid water comes the potential for life similar to that on earth, but much more research is required to learn if that’s possible.
“We want to know if there is life outside earth,” Claudio Melo, director of European Southern Observatory said. “And the first step to answering this question, not in a philosophical or religious way, but based on facts, based on scientific data, is to look for signs of life on this planet.”
Proxima B is only about 4.2 light years from Earth, which is about 40 trillion kilometers, in the Alpha Centauri system, and could become a target for new space exploration projects like the Breakthrough Starshot initiative announced earlier this year.
That project would launch thousands of tiny spacecraft into space propelled by lasers on the ground. The small craft would send back images as they fly past their targets.
It will be years before that project is a reality. If it develops as planned, the journey to Proxima B would take about 20 years. So it will be decades before it can be confirmed if there is life on this planet, unless we hear from them first.