The nearest exoplanet to Earth may be “densely populated”

A small leap into space, away from Earth and you are on the planet, like the earth orbiting the nearest star to the Sun Proxima Centauri. Since the discovery of this exoplanet — Proxima Centauri b in 2016, people still can not understand whether this planet will sustain life.

Now, using computer models similar to those used to study climate change on Earth, scientists have discovered that in a wide range of conditions, Proxima Centauri b can support huge areas of liquid water on its surface, potentially improving the prospects of sustaining living organisms.

On Proxima Centauri b is life?

“The main conclusion of our models is that this planet can be habitable with a high degree of probability,” says Anthony Del Genio, a planetary scientist in the space research Institute at NASA Goddard. Del Genio also lead author of the papers describing new research, which appeared on 5 September in the journal Astrobiology.

Proxima Centauri is a small, cold star type red dwarf located just 4.2 light-years from the Sun. Despite the proximity of the star, scientists still know very little about the planet-companion Proxima Centauri, though its mass is about 1.3 earth and it completes an orbit in 11 days. So Del Genio and his colleagues had to make assumptions about what exoplanet Proxima Centauri b is — specifically, its atmosphere and the ocean.

Proxima Centauri b rotates in orbit of a potentially habitable zone, i.e. at the right distance to get any starlight and below the water on the planet’s surface does not evaporate, but did not freeze. However, in this case this area is “too close to the star”. So the planet is likely to blocked by tidal gravitational forces. Proxima Centauri b is always facing its parent star, like the Moon towards the Earth.

The new model showed that the planet is alive, circulating ocean, which effectively transfers heat from one side to the other exoplanets. According to scientists, the movement of the atmosphere and ocean combined, so that “although the night side never sees the light of stars, there is always a strip of liquid water that persists in the Equatorial region.” And the more of the planet with liquid water, the higher the probability that if there is life, we will prove its existence with future telescopes.

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