Proxima Centauri B: Our Next Home?
You are strolling on your terrace one night and you see a bright speck in the sky. It is almost as bright as Venus at night. You don’t pay much attention to it and ignore it for a few weeks. Skip forward a few weeks and the world is like hell. An asteroid with the diameter of 22 km, literally more than double the diameter of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs is heading towards us at high velocity. Unfortunately mankind will find it impossible to even destroy it with the help of nuclear bombs.
The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, killed 75% of Earth’s population back then and caused a global winter after it for a short while. An asteroid more than double that size of the Chicxulub asteroid which killed the dinosaurs. This may as well wipe all humans, mammals, sea life, birds etc. This means that humans are extinct. Wrong. Wrong. There is yet another way to survive although it is difficult. We go to Proxima Centauri B. Cue the Mr. What music.
Proxima Centauri B is an exoplanet that revolves around Proxima Centauri. Proxima Centauri star system is the nearest star system to ours. It is 4.24 light years far. Keep in mind — A star system is a solar system.
Lets go into detail about first Proxima Centauri the star or Proxima Centauri A. Proxima Centauri’s radius is around 106,000 km i.e <1/6th of the Sun’s radius. This star is a red dwarf. Red dwarf stars are small red stars. They may be quite small and cool but they use their Hydrogen quite efficiently and can last up to the age of 10 trillion years compared to the mere 10 billion year age of our sun. It’s surface temperature is around 3500 C. Red dwarfs are also the most common star in our universe.
Now lets go to Proxima Centauri B. This an exoplanet revolving in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri A. It is also about 117% of the Earth’s mass which is perfect for our survival. It takes 11.2 days to orbit its parent star. The planet was discovered by Mikko Tuomi.
The only problem is getting there. If we can obtain the power of light speed travel, we can reach there in less than 5 years but we haven’t yet achieved that strange velocity due to the theory of relativity.
You may be thinking why not just go to the Moon or Mars. We have not chosen them as our options because many craters on the Moon or on Mars have been caused by the debris which was sent there by the Chicxulub asteroid(Dino-Killer) so an asteroid more than double that diameter will send way more debris there. Also the Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere and Mars has a very thin one. Even though Proxima Centauri B also has a thin atmosphere, it will be safe from the asteroid.
A fun fact about the Proxima Centauri system. It is a binary system. Meaning there are two stars in the solar system and they both revolve around each other. The other star is Alpha Centauri. This means that our planet will get sufficient heat. We would just have to get used to waking up & seeing 2 stars.
Terraforming Proxima Centauri B is also important and needs to be done. The planet is currently not ready-made like Earth was 200,000 years ago for our ancestors.
Hope you enjoyed reading my article. In the next article we will transform Proxima Centauri B into Earth 2.