Speculation was rife earlier today that the announcement would involve a ‘second earth’ and the possibility that it could support life.
The speculation has turned out to be true, and ESO have now confirmed the location of a potentially habitable planet that could support life and liquid water on its surface.
What’s more, there could already be life there, as it appears to be almost perfectly set up to serve as a home for alien life…
‘Earth 2.0’ is slightly larger than our planet and is four light years away, orbiting Proxima Centauri – the nearest star outside of our solar system.Dear friends we will be making an announcement today at 19:00 CEST. Please stay tuned until then— ESO (@ESO) August 24, 2016
Proxima b, as the planet has been named, is far closer to Proxima Centauri than Earth is to our Sun, taking just 11 days to complete an orbit.
But the red parent star is cooler than our Sun meaning Proxima b is in fact within a habitable zone.
Dr Guillem Anglada-Escude of Queen Mary University of London, who led a team of around 30 astronomers in researching the planet, said:Earth-mass planet found in habitable zone around #ProximaCentauri #PaleRedDot https://t.co/rMRRjFcXJw— ESO (@ESO) August 24, 2016
Succeeding in the search for the nearest terrestrial planet beyond the solar system has been an experience of a lifetime, and has drawn on the dedication and passion of a number of international researchers.
We hope these findings inspire future generations to keep looking beyond the stars. The search for life on Proxima b comes next.
While Proxima b is close enough for future generations of spacecraft to travel to the planet it is not without c
hallenges for humanity.
Ultraviolet rays and X-rays are blasted at the planet by its star which means should any life already be there then it is somehow protected from radiation, an issue humanity would need to overcome.
You can see a replay of the full press conference by following the link in the tweet below.
A replay of the press conference today on #Proximab #PaleRedDot is available here: https://t.co/vC5zgpfB8s— ESO (@ESO) August 24, 2016