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The astronomy world was set aflame after news broke in 2016 that an Earth-like planet was orbiting in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, our nearest star planet just over four light years away. Since then, more information revolving around the planet, Proxima B have been released, reported mnn.com.
One 2016 study, conducted by a team of astronomers and astrophysicists from France’s National Center for Scientific Researcher (CNRS), suggested Proxima B might be an ocean planet similar to the 1995 Costner film, “Waterworld,” covered almost entirely by an ocean, reported mnn.com.
“The planet may very well host liquid water on its surface, and therefore also some forms of life,” the CNRS team wrote in a statement. “The planet could be an ‘ocean planet,’ with an ocean covering its entire surface and similar water to some icy moons around Jupiter to Saturn.”
“We’ve been excited for a long time,” says Guillem Anglada-Escudé of Queen Mary University of London, who led the discovery as part of a project known as Pale Red Dot. “We’ve been hunting for this signal and conformation of the planet for almost four years.”
Scientists don’t know how large Proxima B is, but we have a good idea on its mass. It’s about 1.3 times the mass of the Earth. Using models of planetary structure, researchers at the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory worked out what sort of comparisons we could expect from Proxima B at both ends of that scale, according to extremetech.com.
The planet is rocky, of similar mass to Earth, and temperate – all conditions that are essential for life, but Proxima B isn’t exactly a second Earth, explained newscientist.com.