Scientists are checking a nearby exoplanet for alien transmissions

Exoplanet with a red sky

"The Wolf 1061 system is important because it is so close and that gives other opportunities to do follow-up studies to see if it does indeed have life", Kane said in a statement.

According to the lead researcher Kane, "Because of its nearby position, the star system of Wolf 1061 is vital for investigation".

The scientists have also analyzed Wolf 1061c's dim M-dwarf star, also called the Wolf 1061. They showed the planet sits on the inner edge of the habitable zone, so may have undergone a "runaway greenhouse effect" - similar to what happened on Venus.

There are three so-called super-Earths in the system, including Wolf 1061c, which orbits in the habitable zone where the temperature is such that liquid water, and therefore life as we know it, could exist.

While scientists have been aware of the exoplanet since 2015, the fact that it is located in the "habitable" region of space - much like Earth is in our solar system - has not been known.

Red dwarf with two exoplanets
Scientists contend that there are more red dwarf stars like Wolf 1061 than any other type

However, the closeness of the Wolf 1061 wasn't the only reason of focus; instead there were also other factors.

If it sits too far away, the exoplanet will be too cold, but too close means it would be too hot. As of now most are only speculations about it, and Kane has said that more research would have to be made about the planet. For a planet to sustain life on it, it must not be too far or too close to its star.

The new closest exoplanet that might be like Earth is Proxima Cen b, which was discovered a year ago orbiting in the Alpha Centauri system, our nearest stellar neighbors, making it the closest possible potentially habitable exoplanet. The best candidate, Wolf 1061c, orbits in its parent star's habitable zone and what observers found was that the exoplanet not only might have had difficulty producing living organisms but may have problems sustaining life as well. Water can only last so long on a planet so close to its sun. "The surface temperature on Venus now reaches a scalding 880 degrees Fahrenheit". With a mass, almost 4.3 times more than that of Earth and radius more than 1.5 times from earth, the second exoplanets from Wolf Star system is the second closest possible habitable planet. One possibility is that the short time scales over which Wolf 1061c's orbit changes could be enough that it could actually cool the planet off.

"These findings all beg the question: Is life possible on Wolf 1061c?"

But fully understanding what's happening on the planet's surface will take more research, he added.The findings are forthcoming in the Astrophysical Journal in a paper titled "Characterization of the Wolf 1061 Planetary System".

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