Proxima B, Unknown Earth like Planet

Possibility of New Life

Christina Kroeger, Staff Writer

 Just recently, there has been findings and proof of an Earth-like planet orbiting a star about 4.22 light-years away. Astronomers call this planet, Proxima B.

Proxima B is measured to be one and a third times the size of earth and is surviving in a habitable zone where water and ice can exist. However, because it is orbiting so close to its star, it is experiencing 400 times more ultra violet rays compared to what we experience from our sun.

Can life really exist on this planet? Researchers say, we may find out in just a few decades.

Scientists haven’t actually seen the surface of Proxima B. Instead, it was discovered indirectly by an extensive technique. NASA’s Kepler space telescope assisted the observation of the planet’s tiny motions and gravitational effects.

Proxima B’s mass is 30% greater than earth’s mass and its orbit (one year) is equivalent to eleven days on earth. Because of its proximity to its star, there are spots on Proxima B where there is permanent light and permanent darkness.

If there is any possibility you and I could visit Proxima B we would only survive, if at all, in the complete darkness. The Planet is far too close to its sun so there’s far more radiation than we can tolerate.

It has been nearly fifty years since man has landed on the moon; it has been nearly fifty years since we, as a country, have been fully engaged with what has been going on in space. Is there a reason we have been kept in the dark?

Astronomy and Physics professor, Dr. Kroeger says, “Fifty years ago,  there was a lot of nationalism involved with the space race and the moon landing because of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Now it’s “just” for science.” It seems like the only way to hear or read about anything going on in outer space is from voluntary research and curiosity.

In addition to the unknown of Proxima B, right now, there are 6 people in space. 2 of those 6 people are American. Kate Rubins is one of the Americans who has been in space for sixty two days and counting, Rubins was selected to be an astronaut in 2009 and this is her first space flight. She is in space participating in several science experiments including research into sequencing the 1st genome in microgravity.

Jeff Williams is the other American in space today. As of August 23 of this year, Williams holds the United States record of the most cumulative days in space (534 days). On his current mission, he has been in space for one hundred seventy-two days and counting. Williams is scheduled to return this month, completing his 4th space flight.

There could be life other than ourselves somewhere in our universe. Not only life, but there are an immense amount of things we do not know about our solar system and outer space in general. It is often taken for granted how vast outer space is and how unique it is to us on earth.

It is a shame that we are not informed about scientific findings from outer space. For all we know, these little details can change the rest of our lives forever. As we look up admiring the stars at night wondering what could be up there, there may be different forms of life looking up at us wondering the same thing.

For more information about Proxima B check out:

Edited by: Sara Gunter



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