Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Proxima B: the closest habitable planet?

Proxima B, a rocky- earthlike planet, revolves around the closest star to our sun, Proxima Centauri. It is still pretty far away though-- a whopping 4.2 light years.  It is at just the right distance from the sun for liquid water to exist on its surface. This planet revolves around its sun once every 11.2 earth days and is 1.3 times the size of earth. Scientists plan to send a robot there to get observations within the next century. If there is life on Proxima B, humans would face many problems affecting their inability to survive without protection, such as the ultraviolet and x- ray flares that are 100 times stronger than the ones we receive from our sun. Life on this planet would most certainly have adapted to withstand this amount of radiation. If it has a strong magnetic field, it could help block out some of the radiation. There is a thing called the Starshot Project involving scientists who want to create and send a very fast light driven nanocraft that can send home images of the planet Proxima B. The only bad thing is that this nanocraft would take 20 years to get to its destination--even with modern technology.  --Emily Diamond

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