Tag Archives: alpha centauri and proxima centauri

“Proxima B – Planet supporting life?”

Humans have been developing technologies and doing research in the field of space since the last 5-6 decades. We have been successful in launching various space missions which include launching satellites, landing on moon in late 60’s, satellite and rover to Mars and many others. With  the help of these missions and discoveries made by them, we are able to understand space and various other phenomena in it with a close view. The Hubble telescope, launched in 1990 has helped us to view space very closely and helped us to know about the existence of other planets at distance as well as centauries. Since these observations do facinate humans and the desire to explore it more, we are developing new technologies which would help us to reach out to these planets. The closest planet which we are in the run to land on is Mars. As per the plans of Spacex, they are planning a manual spaceflight to Mars by 2024

But there have been other observations also, and we have achieved results which do show the presence of planets like earth. We are still finding the question of existence of life on other planet and thus brings up the curiosity of humans to find them and reach them out. We have been able to find out many planets which have possibilities of life on them, but we do not have the desired technology to reach these due to the distance barrier as they are situated at various light years. But still there does exist a chance to reach one of them named “Proxima-B”.

  1.  This planet is supposed to be the same size as Earth and lie at a distance of 4.24 light years . It was found in the nearest Alpha centauri
  2. Proxima B revolves around a star named Proxima Centauri and is supposed to be at a distance suitable for supporting life on it. It lies at a distance of 75 lakhs kilometre and has an expected time to complete its orbit around it’s stars is 11.2 Earth days. But Due to the smaller size of its star, Proxima B lies in the habitable zone as per the experts.
  3.  It is supposed to have water reserves if it has an atmosphere around it. As per the computer model and analysis, it does give the possibility of atmosphere and water. 
  4. Some scientists also believe that as this lies close to its star, it could be tidally locked, like the moon. This means that one side if this planet remain s towards the star and the other remains in dark . This suggests the possibility of keeping the area hot which faces the star, while others remain cold. This suggests the life to be supported at the border area. But it’s just a belief and scientists do have a conflicting thought on this. 

But the main question which comes to mind is “Can we reach there with the same technology we use for other planets and how long will it take”. It’s believed that with the current technology it would take thousands of years to reach Proxima -B thus making it a difficult task with the current technology. But scientists are working on unmanned vehicles which can be light weight and thus able to reach it. Breakthrough starshot technique is being tested for the same and it’s believed we can reach Proxima -B through this. It is believed it would just take 15-20 year to reach this planet as they would be travelling at very high speed. These would be working on lightsail instead of rockets to work and go beyond the distance. Once they are made, they would be left in the earth orbit and laser light would be travelling to them which would power them and would thus move towards the destination. At an expected speed of 1/20th speed of light

It seems that some of these technologies and work experiment could help us reach out to the nearest of planets which could support life but there are some of problems with these, which are:

  1. These would be really expensive experiments. 
  2. We still do not know how to stop these vehicles once they reach out there. Which surely means we would have less time analyze the planet and soon it will pass it 
  3. Surety of life isn’t confirmed. 

“So these experiments bring out the hope of life and our possibilities to reach them out. Scientists and their teams are working on research work and ideas which could make this dream a reality and could help us to reach out other life forms of dynasties if possible and thus opening new life possibilities , adventures, risk but with learning being the better probability”.