Ross 128 b: Nearby earth-like planet could support alien life

Thursday, 16 November 2017 16:04

A team of scientists using an observatory in Chile have discovered an Earth-like planet at a distance of 11 light years. 

The discovery of the "Ross 128 b" was revealed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on Wednesday after more than a decade of intensive space monitoring.

Astronomers say the new planet's warm and rocky environment may support life.

Ross 128 b is the second-closest planet to be detected outside the solar system with surface temperatures potentially similar to planet Earth. 

The newly discovered planet is about the same size and temperature as Earth and revolves around a so-called "quiet star", so it does not get blasted with harmful radiation.


The planet can't be observed directly and it's hard to say whether an atmosphere or water exist, but it gives scientists important clues about potential life outside the solar system.

This latest revelation comes after NASA discovered, earlier in the year, a solar system with seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star with the potential of supporting life. 

In June, the US space agency also announced the discovery of 10 rocky, Earth-sized planets in our Milky Way Galaxy that could potentially have liquid water and support life.

Other notable discoveries like the Earth-sized Trappist planets and Proxima b were made around similar stars as Ross 128 b and, in the case of Proxima b, are even closer to our solar system.

Proxima b, located just four light years away from the Earth around the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, was discovered by a team of European scientists last year. 

To date, NASA's exoplanet archive includes more than 3,000 alien worlds.

Most are uninhabitable but there are a few dozen "earth twins" that from a distance look like our own.