Out in the Centaurus constellation, at about 4.2 light-years from Earth, exists a planet a little bigger than ours. It is 1.3 times the size of Earth. Discovered in 2016 by the European Southern Observatory, Proxima Centauri B, or Proxima B, got its name from the star it orbits: Proxima Centauri. Astronomers came up with a fantastic statement — life might be possible on Proxima B, as they call the exoplanet.
Part of a triple star system, Proxima Centauri B’s source of light and heat, is a red dwarf. A red dwarf is the smallest and coldest kind of star on the main sequence. Until now, life on the newly discovered planet was thought to be impossible.
That because the planet is subject to stellar wind pressures of more than 2,000 times those experienced by Earth from the solar wind. But new discoveries changed that belief. Further information about Proxima B is available, due to the data collected in the 17 years passed since the exoplanet was made known.
Proxima B is a potentially habitable exoplanet
Proxima B’s revolution takes 5.2 earth years to rotate fully. It is not sure yet what is the distance between the planet and its red dwarf: it can be six times less close to it or thirty times closer than Earth is to the Sun. Either the case, life can still be sustained.
Also, liquid water may exist, and even oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. But still, ultraviolet and x-ray flash are a problem. They are a hundred times harsher than the Sun gives to planet Earth, and we already know how much damage sun radiation causes down here.
The sad part is that all the given data are just speculation made from afar. Life out there is still a presumption. Until and if life proves to be possible someplace else, we need to take care of the life-sustaining conditions here on Earth.