After years and years of research for Earth-like worlds outside the solar system, a group of scientists' effort from the European Observatory has finally paid off. Today, they revealed their newest discovery - it appears that they have found an exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to Earth.
CNN reports Proxima Centauri is a moderately active, small low-mass star and is known to be the Sun's closest neighbor. It's approximately 4.25 lightyears away from Earth, and the exoplanet orbiting around it is dubbed as Proxima B.
It is known to be a rocky planet and possibly more massive than Earth; and according to ESO's findings, "The rocky world has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface" and is just a little bigger than Earth," Since Proxima B also orbits its sun(Proxima Centauri) which leads them to believe that it is a habitable planet that can foster life or "habitable zone".
Guillem Anglada-Escude, a physics and astronomy lecturer from Queen Mary University in London, led the group of astronomers that examined Proxima Centauri once stated "The first hints of a possible planet were spotted back in 2013, but the detection was not convincing, since then we have worked hard to get further observations off the ground with help from ESO and others,"
Since 2009, 3,000 exoplanets have already been discovered including the first one that was found in 2014. This planet is said to have the same size as Earth which is why astronomers dubbed it as Kepler-168f. Due to these unstoppable breakthroughs, it only made scientists giddy into exploring Proxima Centauri extensively with the help of Stephern Hawking's nanocraft called Breakthrough Starshot.
According to Hawking,"With light beams, light sails and the lightest spacecraft ever built, we can launch a mission to Alpha Centauri within a generation."
With this dedication, there's no doubt that the next mission might be the search of life on Proxima b.