Proxima B May Have Enough Water to Support Life

Proxima B May Have Enough Water to Support Life

Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri, was confirmed as an Earth-like planet in 2016. Many studies done since then have had less than promising results, and there are still a huge number of unknowns. But now, a new NASA study suggests that the closest planet outside our own solar system may have enough water to make it habitable.

“Habitable Climate Scenarios for Proxima Centauri b with a Dynamic Ocean” lays out multiple different scenarios that point to a liquid, dayside ocean.

Study leader Anthony D. Del Genio of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies says of his work, “For each configuration that we imagine, we run a 3-D global climate model that is adapted from the Earth climate model that we use to project 21st Century warming due to the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by humans. The key feature of our climate for this purpose is that we include a “dynamic” ocean, i.e., an ocean that has currents that move warm water to cooler places. Previous studies of Prox b had used a ‘statis’ ocean that warms and cools but does not move.”

The result of every simulation was a planet with at least some liquid surface water, and with it the possibility of life. Let the additional studies begin.


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