Close, but probably no cigar

Published May 29, 2020

Our nearest neighbor star, Proxima Centauri, has an “Earth-like” planet around it. Why the quotes? Because it only means the planet is in the habitable zone — the right temperature for liquid water — and it’s about the size of Earth.

An artist’s conception, based on just about nothing

Is there water? Maybe. We can’t tell yet. An atmosphere? Ditto? Could there be life? Welllll … considering that Proxima Centauri puts out a heck of a lot of X-rays, the planet isn’t exactly the place you want to migrate to. But still, it’s close enough for both scientists and science-fiction writers to enjoy.

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