We May Have Found A Liveable “2nd Earth” But TBH It’ll Freeze Yr Nips

It seems like every month we hear about scientists discovering a planet that could potentially host liquid water and, therefore, life. It’s always a nice crapshoot – hey, this planet could maybe support life but we’ll probably never know for sure because it’s approximately a billion squillion kilometres away.
Well, researchers at Queen Mary, University of London have found a rocky little planet they’ve named Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our sun. It’s not close – it’s four light years away, so you’re unlikely to pop over for a quick cuppa and a chat – but it’s pretty close, in cosmic terms. If we launched a probe at it, it’d take 70,000 years to get there.
But it exists in Proxima Centauri’s so-called ‘habitable zone’, which means its neither too hot nor too cold to host water. Proxima b is about 1.3 times the mass of earth, and its surface temperature is, on average, -40ºC. Which to me seems chilly. But if you think that’s habitable, more power to you. 
“It seems cold, but then if you look at the same numbers for Earth you would get minus 20, minus 30ºC,” says Guillem Anglada-Escudé, co-author of the research. “What keeps Earth warm is basically that it has an atmosphere and an ocean,” he adds, meaning that the new planet ought to be a little bit warmer if it does have an atmosphere. Still cold but.
So there you go. A planet that is a bit bloody nippy but quite possibly liveable, and maybe close enough that people in the future could visit it. I’ll book the bloody Airbnb if you guys are willing to sleep on the couch.
Source: The Guardian.
Photo: European Southern Observatory.

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