CIENCIA

Artista de NASA recrea como se vería Próxima b, un posible planeta con vida.

Próxima b en el cercano sistema Próxima Centauri es un planeta candidato donde se cree que puede existir vida.

El planeta del tamaño aproximado de la Tierra orbita una estrella enana roja a una distancia que permite que exista agua líquida en su superficie.

Esta es la llamada zona habitable, o zona Ricitos de Oro, donde las condiciones no son ni demasiado frías ni demasiado calientes, sino las adecuadas.

La NASA dijo: ¿Por qué es tan importante el agua líquida? La vida en la Tierra comenzó en el agua, y el agua es un ingrediente necesario para la vida (como la conocemos).

Imagen: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Imagínese si la Tierra estuviera donde está Plutón. El Sol sería apenas visible (del tamaño de un chícharo) y el océano de la Tierra y gran parte de su atmósfera se congelaría.

Por otro lado, un planeta como Mercurio, que se encuentra muy cerca del Sol, es demasiado caliente para que el agua permanezca líquida.

Próxima b no tiene estos problemas, aunque no son garantías de que exista vida en este exoplaneta.

Un artista de la NASA ahora ha simulado una vista desde la superficie del planeta, mostrando cómo podría ser la vida en Próxima b.

Imagen: NASA.

La imagen muestra un afloramiento rocoso y estéril que se extiende hasta donde alcanza la vista.

Flotando sobre el horizonte está la estrella del planeta, Próxima Centauri.

La NASA dijo: Descubierto en 2016, este planeta del tamaño aproximado de la Tierra que orbita nuestra estrella vecina más cercana podría ser habitable, según los astrónomos que utilizan el telescopio de 3.6 metros del Observatorio Europeo Austral en La Silla, Chile, junto con otros telescopios de todo el mundo.

El exoplaneta está a una distancia de su estrella que permite temperaturas lo suficientemente suaves como para que el agua líquida se acumule en su superficie.

La impresión de este artista muestra una vista de la superficie del planeta Próxima b orbitando la estrella enana roja Próxima Centauri, la estrella más cercana al sistema solar.

Comparativa entre la Tierra y Próxima b.

A la derecha de Próxima Centauri, hay dos puntos de luz: la estrella doble Alpha Centauri AB.

Próxima b es un poco más masivo que la Tierra, aproximadamente 1.27 veces más pesado, y es aproximadamente 1.08 veces más grande.

Sin embargo, a diferencia de la Tierra, el planeta solo tarda 11.2 días en completar una vuelta alrededor de Próxima Centauri.

Tampoco está claro si el planeta tiene atmósfera y eso tiene grandes implicaciones para su habitabilidad.

Algunos astrónomos han propuesto que la intensa radiación solar de Próxima Centauri puede haber despojado al planeta de su aire.

Imagen: supernova.eso.org

El planeta también está bloqueado gravitoriamente por Próxima Centauri, lo que significa que el mismo lado siempre mira hacia la estrella, justo como nuestra Luna.

¿Algún día seremos capaces de llegar para comprobar todo esto? Próxima b se encuentra aproximadamente a 4.2 años luz de la Tierra, lo que significa que incluso una nave espacial que viaje a la velocidad de la luz tardaría más de cuatro años en llegar.

Somos Extremo Mundial.

Con información de NASA.

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