This newly discovered Earth-sized planet could harbor life

This newly discovered Earth-sized planet could harbor life

NASA explains that while Ross 128 b and Proxima b are in the habitable zone and seem similar to Earth, Venus and Mars would feature numerous same qualities from 11 light years away.

Ross 128 and Ross 128b lie just 11 light-years from Earth, making the exoplanet the second closest temperate planet after Proxima b.

The newly discovered exoplanet, which has been designated Ross 128 b, is the closest one found orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, increasing the chances of the planet hosting alien life.

Consequently, it is expected to have a surface temperature close to that on Earth. Ross 128 b also orbits a red dwarf, but its star is much less active, so the surface of the planet is likely more temperate. An exoplanet is simply a planet that orbits a star that's not our sun.

Astronomers have discovered a new exoplanet that may have the potential to host life, just 11 light-years away from Earth.

Although it is now 11 light-years from Earth, he said Ross 128 is moving towards us and is expected to become our nearest stellar neighbour in "just" 79,000 years - a blink of the eye in cosmic terms. The temperatures on the planet Ross 128 b could therefore be comparable to those on Earth, estimated at at -60 to 20 degrees Celsius (-76 to 68°F).

"Meanwhile, it is probably preferable to refer to Ross 128 b as a temperate planet rather than as a habitable zone planet", the authors wrote. The nature of the star is also why the planet is subjected to only 1.38 times the radiation that Earth receives from the sun, even though the planet and star are close together.

Bonfils and his team spent about a decade monitoring this red dwarf, called Ross 128, before they figured out a planet was lurking around it.

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As for Ross 128 b, Bonfils told Futurism one forthcoming telescope in particular should prove useful for further study.

Ross 128 b has numerous hallmarks that make for a promising target in the search for extraterrestrial life as it shares many similarities to Earth, the only world on which life is known to exist.

Astronomers estimate that in 79,000 years, Ross 128 b will be our exoplanet neighbor, even closer than Proxima b. But a planet either too close or too far from its star could be habitable, if it possessed other characteristics that tilted the scale in the opposite direction.

Cool, low-mass red dwarfs are the most common type of stars-at least in our Sun's neighborhood.

An artist's impression of exoplanet Ross 128 b, with its red-dwarf parent star in the background.

Dr Bonfils added: "New facilities at ESO will first play a critical role in building the census of Earth-mass planets amenable to characterisation. And then, the ELT will provide the opportunity to observe and characterize a large fraction of these planets". Follow-up observations are needed to determine whether Ross 128 b orbits within or near the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface.

[3] This is only possible for the very few exoplanets that are close enough to the Earth to be angularly resolved from their stars.

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