The scientists have recently confirmed a planet the size of the earth around the closest star in our solar system, Proxima Centauri.
According to a newspaper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the planet—called ‘Proxima b’—has a mass of 1.17 piles of earth and is located in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri.
Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf, much smaller and cooler than the sun, its habitable zone or Goldilocks zone — neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist — is very close to the star.
‘Proxima b’ orbits about 20 times closer to its star than Earth does to the sun, and a year on the planet is just over 11 earth days long.
It is believed this planet could be “likely” to be able to support alien life forms.
The research team studied ‘Proxima b’ using the Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations, or ESPRESSO for short.
Proxima Centauri is approximately 4.2 light-years from the Sun, but Nasa estimates it would take approximately 73,000 years for us to reach the planet unless new technologies are developed.
Ionic propulsion, nuclear thermal propulsion, nuclear pulse propulsion, fusion rockets, and laser sails have all been considered as methods to travel to the planet.
Although ‘Proxima b’ is about 20 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, it receives comparable amounts of energy. If there is the liquid form on the planet, it could harbour life, but researchers said there is still much to be done before that can be confirmed.