Earth-Like Planet Found By Star Where Scientists Discovered 'Alien Signals'

Nearby exoplanet is a target for life

Astronomers also think the planet may hold water, as well as have other conditions that make it possible to sustain life.

A new earth-like planet has been found, only 11 light years from our solar system.

Astronomers spotted the planet using the European Southern Observatory's High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) in Chile.

First there was Proxima b, the Earth-sized planet orbiting the closest star to us, Proxima Centauri. The researchers said that new tools, such as the ESO's Extremely Large Telescope, which is set to begin observations in 2024, may be able to determine the atmospheric compositions of exoplanets, providing more evidence whether they could support life.

Ross 128 b is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, but because the star is small, dim and cool, the planet would still be at a potentially comfortable temperature.

A star's habitable zone is the region where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface.

They must find oxygen to figure out if it could be a good host planet for human colonisation or whether life already exists there.

The big question: Is Ross 128 b habitable?

But these are comparatively hard to detect; most of the 3,500 known exoplanets are so-called Hot Jupiters - huge gas giants orbiting very close to their parent stars that likely don't have suitable conditions for life. "For now, we will continue to monitor the star to search for evidence of additional companions". But the star's low temperature should give the planet a temperature between -60 and 20 degrees Celsius (-76 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Close inspection reveals that Ross 128 has a unusual multiple appearance as this image was created from photographs taken over a more than forty year period by the Digitized Sky Survey 2, and the star, which is only 11 light-years from Earth, moved across the sky significantly during this time.

"Ross 128 is one of the quietest stars of the neighborhood", Xavier Bonfils, the paper's lead author, told the Times. It "is expected to become our nearest stellar neighbour in just 79,000 years - a blink of the eye in cosmic terms".

Third, the planet may sit within the habitable zone of its host star. In particular, NIRPS, the infrared arm of HARPS, will boost our efficiency in observing red dwarfs, which emit most of their radiation in the infrared. That's a red dwarf - a type of sun that offers hope to scientists looking for exoplanets, but comes with some caveats. A subsequent analysis by Breakthrough Listen, accepted for publication in the International Journal of Astrobiology, concluded the signal Méndez's team saw probably came from one of several geostationary satellites in the direction of Ross 128. If we have, it'll not only offer the potential to see what another planet like our own looks like - but potentially to meet the aliens that live there, or to move there ourselves. Both will be able to examine worlds like Ross 128 b in new detail, offering new insights into Earth-size exoplanets like never before.

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