Sorry, but there’s no life ‘next door’

Overly active. Under-aged. Proxima B’s ‘parent’ star — one of the galaxy’s most common types — is not stable enough to allow planets to hold their atmospheres.

THE closest habitable planet to our Solar System may not be so habitable after all. NASA scientists say it’s likely to have been blasted clean by solar flares.

A new study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters says Proxmia B is not likely to have any atmosphere.

As it orbits a cool red dwarf star, the planet must sit much closer than the Earth to the Sun in order for it to be warm enough for liquid water. This is called a Goldilocks zone.

But red dwarf stars — especially younger ones — exhibit a great deal of activity. Flares regularly punch out into surrounding space.

And planets such as Proxima B are likely to have had their atmosphere stripped away at a very early stage.

To calculate the odds of Proxima B maintaining an atmosphere, researchers at the Goddard Space Flight Center developed a new computer mod…

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