Our Closest Earthlike Planet Appears to Be Covered in Water

Image: European Southern Observatory/Flickr
Image: European Southern Observatory/Flickr
Jupiter’s moon Europa recently became the best candidate yet for harboring alien life within our Solar System. But in the search for life outside of our cosmic backyard, an Earth-sized, newly-discovered rocky exoplanet has scientists woozy: They’ve concluded that the planet may in fact be covered in oceans of liquid water—water that could contain life.

By Ben Sullivan | MOTHERBOARD

In a study to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team led by researchers at the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université) determined that the dimensions and properties of the surface of Proxima b “actually favor its habitability.”

The researchers determined that the planet could be an „ocean planet with an ocean covering its entire surface,” with water similar to that detected on the icy moons around Jupiter and Saturn such as Europa and Enceladus.

„The planet may very well host liquid water on its surface, and therefore also some forms of life,“ the researchers said, as cited by Agence Presse France.

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