From Nature (h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard)
Astronomers have discovered evidence of a small, rocky planet orbiting our nearest star – and it may even be a bit like Earth. Nobody knows whether the planet, called Proxima b, could ever sustain life. The little planet orbits our sun’s nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, making it the closest exoplanet ever found.
Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun, has an Earth-sized planet orbiting it at the right distance for liquid water to exist. The discovery, reported today in Nature1, fulfils a longstanding dream of science-fiction writers — a potentially habitable world that is close enough for humans to send their first interstellar spacecraft.
“The search for life starts now,” says Guillem Anglada-Escudé, an astronomer at Queen Mary University of London and leader of the team that made the discovery.
Humanity’s first chance to explore this nearby world may come…
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