-- A newly discovered Earth-size planet that could sustain life is poised to become Earth's closest stellar neighbor in a cosmic "blink of the eye," scientists at the European Southern Observatory announced in a press release today.
Every 9.9 days, Ross 128 b orbits a red dwarf star known as Ross 128. Ross 128 is relatively quiet and cool and has just over half the surface temperature of the sun, scientists said, which could make Ross 128 b conducive to life. The star Ross 128 is part of the constellation of Virgo.
More research is needed to determine if Ross 128 b has all of the conditions to sustain life, scientists said, and they plan to use ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope to explore the planet's atmosphere.
"While the scientists involved in this discovery consider Ross 128b to be a temperate planet, uncertainty remains as to whether the planet lies inside, outside, or on the cusp of the habitable zone, where liquid water may exist on a planet’s surface," scientists added.
ESO also released a video about the new planet's significance Wednesday.