Nearby star Ross 128 may host a habitable planet

Nearby star Ross 128 may host a habitable planet

We wrote about Proxima Centauri B last year, and now another terrestrial-sized exo-planet in a nearby star’s habitable zone has been revealed. This one also orbits a small reddish star—such stars make up the vast majority of stars in our universe—but the star isn’t as prone to stellar outbursts as Proxima Centauri:

Co-discoverer Nicola Astudillo-Defru from the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland told BBC News: “Just because Proxima Centauri blasts its planet with strong flares and high energy radiation, yes, I think Ross 128 is much more comfortable for the development of life.

“But we still need to know what the atmosphere of Ross 128 b is like. Depending on its composition and the reflectivity of its clouds, the exoplanet may be life friendly with liquid water as the Earth, or sterile like Venus.”

Ross 128 B? Well, maybe we need a better name. But it’s an interesting find nevertheless, especially coming as it does on the heels of Prox B. Another possible Earth-like planet around another red dwarf. It orbits so close that the planet is almost certainly tide-locked, the same side facing its small red sun during its short, 10 day “year.”

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