Back in August we first talked about the Earth-like planet called Proxima B. The cool bit about this planet is that it is relatively close to the Earth and is believed to be potentially life supporting. Proxima B lies 4.25 light-years from the Earth and is orbiting the star Proxima Centauri. Now a few months after we first heard about the planet and scientists are talking up something even more interesting.
Teams of scientists believe that Proxima B might have oceans of liquid water on the surface. Liquid water is a requirement for life as we know it. “Contrary to what one might expect, such proximity [to our sun] does not necessarily mean that Proxima B’s surface is too hot,” said CNRS in a statement, reports Nature World News. “The planet may very well host liquid water on its surface, and therefore also some forms of life.”
Scientists are quick to point out that just because water is available on the planet and the planet is in the habitable zone of its parent star doesn’t mean humans could survive there. Mars is a good example of this, Mars has hydrogen and water but humans certainly can’t survive there without some significant work.
One scientist studying Proxima B also notes that while the planet is thought to be rocky like Earth, it might not be like Earth at all. There is a possibility that the exoplanet is more akin to Neptune with a thick gaseous envelope surrounding the entire planet. That sort of reality would certainly rule at possible human habitation. Whether or not liquid water can survive on the surface of the planet really depends on the temperature of the planet. That is something scientists aren’t sure about. Scientist think that the planet could possibly have water covering 0.05% of its surface. If that were true Proxima B would be covered by a single liquid ocean that is 200km deep.