Scientists at European Southern Observatory announce the discovery of Proxima b, a planet that appears to be similar to Earth, circling Proxima Centauri, a dwarf star four light years from Earth. The relative proximity of the planet gives scientists a better chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has an atmosphere and water, which is believed to be necessary for life. Proxima b is only 7.5 million kilometres from its parent star – some 5% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun – and it takes just 11.2 days to complete one orbit. Lead scientist:
For sure, to go there right now is science fiction, but people are thinking about it and it’s no longer just an academic exercise to imagine we could send a probe there one day.