In August 2016 the Pale Red Dot team, led by astronomer Guillem Anglada-Escude from Queen Mary, University of London, discovered a rocky exoplanet in the orbit of our closest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri. The planet, Proxima Centauri b has a minimum mass of 1.3 Earth masses and orbits within the ‘habitable zone’ of it’s red dwarf host star, making it a key target for continued observation, characterization and modeling studies. The system is 4.2 light years from the Earth.An extraordinary response from the scientific community following the discovery of Proxima Centauri b has resulted in a large number of scientific journal articles, blogs, and social media posts. One of NExSS’s largest teams, the Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington, has contributed significantly to the scientific literature on our early understanding of the potential habitability of this new world.  Here, we attempt to bring some of the seminal papers outlining the discovery, properties and potential habitability of this new planet together in one place in order to facilitate discussion and future collaborative research efforts.

Seminal Papers

Confirmed Discovery

Author: Anglada-Escude et al. (2016)
TitleA terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri

Direct Survey Feasibility

Author: Heller & Hippke (2017)
TitleDeceleration of high-velocity interstellar photon sails into bound orbits at ⍺ Centauri