Scientists discover new exoplanet which could support life

Scientists discover new exoplanet which could support life

Scientists are getting excited about the discovery of a rocky, Earth-like planet orbiting the star nearest our sun, which has promising signs of a life-supporting environment.

At just 4.2 light-years away, 'Proxima b' is the closest exoplanet to us in the universe.

It's about 1.3 times the size of Earth and whips around its star much faster than we do: its year is just 11.2 of our days.

Before 1995, exoplanets - planets outside our solar system - were only theoretical.

Only a short time ago, some scientists denied they even existed, but now more than 3000 have now been discovered.

What's exciting about this new find is that the planet is in the so-called 'Goldilocks zone' - not too close to its sun to burn away any water, but not too far away where it would all be ice.

That means it could theoretically support life, although scientists note the planet suffers from high radiation due to its proximity to its sun.

Many prominent scientists like physicist Stephen Hawking have warned that making ourselves known to aliens could, in the end, actually lead to our destruction.

Still, Prof Hawking and others say we should take the risk and look for them anyhow.