The Star Nearest to Our Sun May Host a Habitable Planet (Video)

October 29, 2016 Updated: October 29, 2016

Not long ago, astronomers spotted a planet in our neighboring solar system that held great promise of being habitable. A recent study has furthered the hope that Proxima b is, indeed, capable of supporting life.

The team, which was led by researchers at the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory, came to this exciting conclusion after calculating the orb’s dimensions and surface properties. Doing so was no simple task as such assessments largely rely upon knowing a body’s measurements overall, and the radius in particular. Typically, that is discovered as result of observing a planet as it moves across and eclipses its star, which, in this case, is Proxima Centauri.

Unfortunately, no such crossing behavior was witnessed, so the scientists had to rely upon alternative means. Using a model of the planet, the team ran a number of scenarios involving various compositions and mass estimates to come up with probable radius sizes. From there, they explored the possible material combinations of and found one of them was consistent with a planet equipped to accommodate living organisms.

More study is needed, but, so far, the dream of habitability remains alive.