The nearest exoplanet can boast of water and possible life

The nearest exoplanet can boast of water and possible life

The artistic vision of Proxima Centauri b is a newly discovered planet with earthly parameters that is only 4.2 light years away from us. It is unclear whether alien intelligent life exists in the Universe, but scientists continue to search for suitable worlds.

Literally in the neighboring courtyard (on an astronomical scale) there is a planet of the terrestrial type, revolving around the star Proxima Centauri closest to the Sun. Since the discovery of Exoplanets Proxima Centauri, people have been trying to figure out if it can support life. Using computer models used to study changes in Earth’s climate, scientists found that in a wide range of conditions, the planet is able to have large volumes of liquid water on the surface, which potentially increases its chances for the presence of living organisms.

Proxima Centauri is a small and cold red dwarf distant 4.2 light-years from the Sun. Despite proximity and proximity, researchers still know little about the planetary companion of the star. It is only known that the mass of the world is 1.3 times the Earth's, and the orbital path covers 11 days. Therefore, for the study had to assume that the world has the atmosphere and the ocean.

Proxima Centauri b lives in the habitat zone, so that starlight should be enough to keep the surface in conditions above the freezing point of water. But this zone is too close to the star, so it is likely that the planet is in a closed tidal relationship due to gravitational influence. That is, the same side of Proxima Centauri b is constantly turned toward the star (as in the situation with the Moon). Early simulations allowed to establish a hypothetical atmosphere in the world and to assume that the hemisphere turned to a star is red-hot, and the opposite is in eternal frost. Therefore, the planet can be located only a small circle with a warm sea. However, the new simulations were conducted on a large scale, including a dynamic circulating ocean capable of efficiently transferring heat from one side of the exoplanets to the other. The movement of the atmosphere and the ocean is combined so that a strip of liquid water is always present around the equatorial region.

The researchers conducted 18 separate modeling scenarios, examining the influence of large-scale continents, the thin atmosphere, various atmospheric compositions, and even changes in the amount of salt in the global ocean. In almost all versions, Proxima Centauri b has been able to demonstrate the presence of an ocean that has been maintained at least on a certain part of the surface. The team plans to continue exploring the world, which is already showing good chances for the possible presence of life or suitability for it.

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