OT: Proxima Centauri hosts potential Earth-like planet

Submitted by UMProud on August 26th, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Proxima Centauri, closest star to our Sun, as seen by Hubble

A planet has been discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri located about 4.24 light years away.   Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf and is about 15% as bright as our local star the Sun.  Interestingly, the planet found is located in the theorized habitable zone of the star.

Technologies are very close that would allow man to travel at nearly 20% light speed enabling us to visit this star within a 20 year timeframe.  As a reference, the Voyager probes were launched in the 70s and we would be receiving pictures of the planet by now if they had interstellar technology at that time.

Here is a summary of current & theoretical space technologies:


The most fascinating (to me) is the last one referred to as the "Alcubierre Warp Drive".  Basically a caterpillar drive that generates a warp bubble to travel.

Anyway, I found it extremely interesting that we found a potential solar system that we absolutely will be exploring sometime this century.  I hope I live to see it!




August 27th, 2016 at 5:10 AM ^

debris. "they" say a pebble would have the same energy as a nuclear bomb if it a spacecraft or something crazy like that. i think inter galactic travel would require the craft to be huge to be able to either use warp speed or hit a worm hole all the while having a shield. thats why i think a lot of sci-fi have the mother ships the size of planets. in space with no gravity i would think aero dynamics would be needed.


August 26th, 2016 at 5:02 PM ^

How or why do they believe the planet is earth like? I have always wondered how they come up with these ideas. I suppose you could guess that the planet might be in the habitable zone but it would be extremely difficult to gauge the gasses that compose the atmosphere, etc. There are so many factors that must be present for a planet to support life and there is only so much you can learn from seeing a star's light dimming by a small fraction.


August 26th, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

we can infer size and distance from its sun, but that's really about it.

If (hypoothetically) our planet was displaced by 10 light years and we were trying to infer things based on observations about our own solar system, we'd see Earth, Venus and Mars all as "Earth-like planets."  Of course, the three are very different from each other.

I'd really like to see us make a concerted effort at exploring Mars further.  It's unlikely, but there could be life there.


August 26th, 2016 at 5:08 PM ^

If we don't spread out to other planets, our time in the universe is limited.

Begin chorus of "we certainly can spend our money on better things".

Hope they eventually positively identify one with a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere like ours and we get off our butts and actually learn to live in space.


August 26th, 2016 at 6:06 PM ^

Also, throughout the history the Earth major climatic shifts occur, mass extinctions happen.

And if mankind is ever so fortunate to survive billions of years (*I don't personally think we will), the Sun will eventually die, but not before it engulfs the inner three planets. So there will be no such thing as Earth.

We're probably doomed in the long run.


August 26th, 2016 at 6:09 PM ^

There is a science fiction book titled "The Three Body Problem" that talks about this exact star having a planet with an advanced alien race, and them launching a space invasion of Earth.

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rob f

August 26th, 2016 at 7:01 PM ^

is old news, if you ask me. It's been going on for decades, the space Family Robinson aboard the Jupiter 2 found plenty of creatures on planets orbiting Alpha Centauri some 50 years ago.

I feel obligated, though, to pass on these words of wisdom from the Robot: DANGER, WILL ROBINSON !!!