Science

Scientists discover Earth-size planet that could sustain life

Scientists discover Earth-size planet that could sustain life”

The planet orbits Ross 128, an inactive red dwarf star.

Astronomer Dr Xavier Bonfils, from the University of Grenoble, France, who led the European team behind the new discovery, said: "Many red dwarf stars, including Proxima Centauri, are subject to flares that occasionally bathe their orbiting planets in deadly ultraviolet and X-ray radiation". The star is now located at a distance of 11 light-years from Earth. However, the star is 280 times dimmer than our Sun, meaning it approximately evens out and may have a similar surface temperature to Earth.

However, it seems that Ross 128 is a much quieter star, and so its planets may be the closest known comfortable abode for possible life, the study said. The star is about half as bright as the Sun, but the planet orbits 20 times closer than does Earth, leading it to receive about 1.3 times the amount of energy we do.

Scientists have suggested that a newly discovered star, known as Ross 128 b, is the most likely to support life out of all of Earth's neighbours.

As of now, scientists aren't sure whether the alien world is in or out of the habitable zone - the orbital range in which exoplanets can host water in liquid form. However, one exoplanet, dubbed Ross 128 b, has gotten the attention of astronomers due to its habitable nature. This Earth-sized world is expected to be temperate, with a surface temperature that may also be close to that of the Earth. However, for all of the excitement that it caused, life on the planet that they named Proxima b is very unlikely.

Could Ross 128 b be a planet that could contain life, something we have been searching for for so long? "In particular, NIRPS, the infrared arm of HARPS, will boost our efficiency in observing red dwarfs, which emit most of their radiation in the infrared". That's according to findings by astronomers at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla site in Chile, which discovered the exoplanet using the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument.

Red dwarves, Dr. Astudillo-Defru explains, are not the ideal stars to host life, but given humanity's technological constraints now, they're not a bad place to look. In several cases (e.g., Earth orbiting around the Sun), the barycentre lies within the more massive body.

"We are thus confident that Ross 128 b is a rocky planet", he wrote. They hope to find out during follow up analysis using ESO's Extremely Large Telescope.

"ELT will search for biosignatures, molecules in the atmosphere of these worlds that would only be present because of life", Prof. This is not the only interesting thing about the discovered Ross 128 b. Dr. Moore. "The best strategy is to search everywhere and to expect the unexpected".



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