Scientists have discovered a flare off of the sun's closest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Many are reporting that it could spell trouble for any hope for life on its exoplanet, Proxima b - but it might also kill off a presumed set of other planets around the star.
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When astronomers confirmed the discovery of an Earth-sized world orbiting Proxima Centauri just 4.25 light years away, hopes were ignited that there may be more planetary real estate in our cosmic neighbourhood. To find out, a team of ex-NASA scientists is now seeking private funding to scour the Alpha Centauri system for habitable planets.
Last week, astronomers announced that our nearest neighbouring star hosts an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone -- an exciting prospect for alien life, and a possible second home for humanity. But before we assemble the interstellar welcoming party to greet our cosmic neighbours, we need to figure out whether Proxima b is capable of supporting life at all. Thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, that question could be answered in less than three years.
After a week of rampant speculation, astronomers have officially announced the discovery of Proxima b, a potentially habitable world circling our nearest neighbouring star. But even as engineers prepare for an interstellar voyage to scope out Proxima b for signs of life, some experts warn that M dwarf systems like Proxima Centauri may be unable to support life at all.