Researchers from The National Center For Scientific Research (CNRS) in France has announced the existence of at least one ocean in Proxima b. The recent study adds more possibility of alien life in the newly discovered exoplanet.
Oceans In Proxima B
Proxima b had been the talk of the scientific community back in August. Its discovery even prompted famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking to plan a flyby on Proxima b. Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner have collaborated on the Breakthrough Starshot Project. The said project will send a nano craft to the outer space to study planets.
A recent study suggests that the exoplanet may contain oceans. This is possible considering Proxima b is neither too hot nor too cold, according to AOL. It lies on what scientists call as the "habitable zone". Proxima b orbits around the star Proxima Centauri. The star is nearer to the planet compared to that of the Sun and Earth.
According to Phys.org, astrophysicists from CNRS used simulations to calculate the planet's properties. They estimate Proxima b's radius to be 0.94 to 1.4 times bigger than the Earth. That constitutes to at least 3,700 miles.
Based on that figure, the planet may be packed with a metallic core about two-thirds of its mass. It will add only 0.05 percent of surface water to its mass. However, the researchers mentioned that it could change depending on Proxima b's size.
A bigger radius means that the planet will have more water. CNRS revealed that this scenario leads to a 200 km deep ocean. Though whatever the case is, the planet is potentially habitable. It will still have the same the same gassy atmosphere like the Earth.
The Uncertainty On Whether Proxima B Can Sustain Life
The Independent was able to talk to Bastien Brugger, one of the researchers. He said that it is one of the best candidates to sustain life.
However, other scientists are still skeptical. They based this on previous findings that Proxima Centauri was actually brighter. This means that the planet orbiting it would have been too hot. It will be hard for Proxima b to sustain life in this state.
The recent study on Proxima b is published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.