When (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/02/proxima_b_atmosphere/). After the results of the computer

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Last updated: May 20, 2019

When Proxima Centauri b was first discovered, many people became excited about its ability to house life because Proxima Centauri b does have the Goldilocks zone. Experts have found it challenging to conclude if the planet has an atmosphere because it has not been observed crossing its star’s path. This causes the use of the traditional transit method inadequate and scientists could not pinpoint the elements in the planet’s sky- if it even has an atmosphere. So, scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, US, used computer simulations to stimulate Proxima Centauri b’s atmosphere. They focused their stimulation on the question, “What would happen if Earth swapped places and orbited Proxima Centauri? What would happen to its atmosphere? We decided to take the only habitable planet we know of so far — Earth — and put it where Proxima b is,” said Katherine Garcia-Sage, lead author of the group’s study and a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland.” (https://www.

theregister.co.uk/2017/08/02/proxima_b_atmosphere/). After the results of the computer simulation were released by Astrophysical Journal, anyone’s hope of experiencing Proxima Centauri b was shattered. If planet Earth was in Proxima Centauri b’s place, the host star’s extreme radiation rays would strip Earth of its atmosphere. The reasoning being that Proxima Centauri (the host star)i is an active red dwarf that releases bursts of powerful ultraviolet rays 100x than what the Earth receives from the Sun.

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In the computer simulation, the high energy would ionize the particles in the Earth’s gases. The extra amount of energy also means the electrons would escape the planet’s gravity and be released into space. Since opposite charges attract, when the negatively charged electrons float away, positively charged ions will follow in its wake and overtime, the atmosphere will recede to nothing.

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