Our Nearest Habitable Planet
on 24 August 2016
As the Atlantic puts it, the exoplanet Proxima b exists in its galaxy's "Goldilocks" habitable zone: "No one will ever find a closer alien world than this." The reason this happens to be a big deal: all signs point to the planet being able to support water and arguably existing life. There are still plenty of variables that could negate all of this wondrous news: does it have an atmosphere? Is its fixed-position rotation inhibiting development? But these are all questions likely to be answered during the lives of the next generation. For now, we are left wondering about the planet's potentially rocky nature, purple-orange skies, and, if there are plants, the fact that they would be crimson and not green (which we can intuit because of the color of its sun-like star Proxima Centauri).