Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Discovery of the Century

Artist's conception of the surface of Proxima Centauri b, depicted as an Earth-like planet.

After weeks of rumour and speculation Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have finally announced that they have indeed discovered a rocky, Earth-like planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri.

Today on Far Future Horizons we join the astronomical community in jubilation for this momentous discovery of the closest exoplanet that could potentially harbour life outside our solar system.

Breakthrough Starshot interstellar probe Light Sail

This newly discovered alien planet, warmed by the light of a red dwarf star, sits just 4.24 light-years from our solar system. This exoplanet may very well prove to be the Astronomical discovery of the century.

The new alien world, designated Proxima Centauri b, is not just a planet similar in size to Earth, but it is orbiting at a distance known as the habitable zone around its parent star. This zone is the orbital region around a star in which an Earth-like planet can possess liquid water on its surface and possibly support life.

If these results are firmly confirmed, and Proxima Centauri b does prove to be the first exoplanet that is a major candidate as a potential abode for life it will become the target for Humanity's First Interstellar Flight. In fact, Proxima Centauri b could potentially be the destination of the Breakthrough Starshot interstellar probe.

A laser array could be used to propel an interstellar probe

Today’s video offerings are an ESOcast that no viewer will want to miss which, discusses the result of the quest to find a planet around the closest star to the Solar System, And, a look at the possibility of sending a robotic space probe to visit Proxima Centauri b .

ESOcast 87: Pale Red Dot Results The Pale Red Dot campaign aimed to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and the team did indeed find a planet. Even more excitingly, the planet, Proxima b, falls within the habitable zone of its host star. The newly discovered Proxima b is by far the closest potential abode for alien life. In this ESOcast, the results of this groundbreaking research are explained in detail, providing insights into the following points: * The extensive verification process the team went through to ensure this result was accurate. * The factors for and against the possibility of life on Proxima b. * The nature of a “habitable zone” around a star. The discovery of Proxima b is a major science result, making this ESOcast a must for those of you curious about one of the most intriguing questions in astronomy — “are we alone?”

How We Could Visit the Possibly Earth-Like Planet Proxima b

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