Closest exoplanet to Earth could be 'highly habitable'

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An artist's impression of the view from Proxima Centarui b, a newly discovered Earth-sized planet just four light-years away. It is unclear if there is intelligent life in the universe, but searches continue to find Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their respective stars. (Credit: NASA)

Just a cosmic hop, skip and jump away, an Earth-size planet orbits the closest star to our sun, Proxima Centauri.

The team ran 18 separate simulation scenarios in total, looking at the effects of giant continents, thin atmospheres, different atmospheric compositions and even changes in the amount of salt in the global ocean. In almost all of the models, Proxima Centauri b ended up having open ocean that persisted over at least some part of its surface.

"The larger the fraction of the planet with liquid water, the better the odds that if there's life there, we can find evidence of that life with future telescopes," Del Genio said.

Ravi Kopparapu, a geoscientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the study, agreed.

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September 13, 2018

Sources: Fox

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