Extraterrestrial life News

PhysicsWorld: Proxima B in editors’ list of physics breakthroughs of 2016

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Here:  (breakthroughs not listed in any particular order after gravitational waves):

Rocky planet found in habitable zone around Sun’s nearest neighbour

To the Pale Red Dot collaboration for finding clear evidence that a rocky exoplanet orbits within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, which is the nearest star to the solar system. Dubbed Proxima b, the exoplanet has a mass about 1.3 times that of the Earth and is therefore most likely a terrestrial planet with a rocky surface. Our newly found neighbour also lies within its star’s habitable zone, meaning that it could, in theory, sustain liquid water on its surface, and may even have an atmosphere. Proxima Centauri is a red-dwarf star that is just 4.2 light-years away from the Sun. While Proxima b could be subject to ultraviolet and X-radiation that is far more intense than that experienced on Earth, the team says that this does not exclude the existence of an atmosphere. Whether the planet contains liquid water, and ultimately life, depends upon exactly how it formed – according to the team.

See also: Rob Sheldon on the new Earth-like planet

and

Mashable: Quit promoting just any new planet as Earth-like

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