Proxima B Could Have Climate Right for Alien Life

By KM Diaz, | May 17, 2017

Proxima Centauri b has condition favorable to the presence of liquid water.  (YouTube)

Proxima Centauri b has condition favorable to the presence of liquid water. (YouTube)

In August 2016, scientists discovered the Proxima b which is 4.2 billion light years away (25 trillion miles) on Earth. Since then, scientists observed if the exoplanet has an atmosphere similar to Earth. Now, a new study has found that Proxima b could likely have a climate right for alien life.

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Proxima b is the closest planet found outside the solar system after two decades, located within Alpha Centauri. After its discovery, scientists said that the exoplanet was within the "habitable zone," meaning it was neither too cold nor too hot for liquid water to be present - the key condition required for life to survive.

Because of its proximity to the Earth, it has been the prospect to observe signs of life. However, not all scientists are convinced with the idea. Several studies were conducted with different conclusions regarding Proxima b's habitable zone.

But in a new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, scientists from the University of Exeter, U.K. used the state-of-the-art model - employed to examine the climate of the Earth for decades - to a simulated model of Proxima b.

The research team designed two simulated models; one with an atmosphere similar to Earth, while the other one has much simpler atmosphere composed of traces of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

Scientists observed the responses of both atmospheres to certain situations. First, they were exposed to huge quantities of radiation, and then checked the different orbits that they may likely move forward.

In their findings, both simulated models indicate the potential condition to support life. The overall outcomes supported the prior investigations suggesting Proxima Centauri b has condition favorable to the presence of liquid water. 

Under normal circumstances, the climate of the planet is stable and likely habitable for atmospheric compositions and range of orbital states.

Yet, scientists also said that further study is needed to understand if Proxima b can really host alien life as there are still missing ingredients in the observation. Just like the presence of land-surface, according to them, they have neglected the presence of this since there is no concrete information as what it may look like.

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