The planet is being called Proxima b, because of its orbit around Proxima Centauri. It is now the closest, possibly habitable, body found outside of our solar system.
Personally, I have always been fascinated by space and what could, or does, lie beyond our planet. In college, I was one of just two from my year to take the astronomy course as an elective.
There is so much that makes space an exciting topic. For one thing, what remains for us to learn about it seems limitless. Space to me is kind of like the ocean, so vast and so deep, new discoveries are being made all of the time. We don’t know how many planets or stars exist, if there is any form of life that could live on those planets, what dark matter is, or even if there are further chemical elements we have not yet discovered.
As a fan of comic book superhero stories, I have also become fascinated with the theory of infinite Earths, or the multiverse. This theory suggests the possibility of parallel universes out there, similar to our’s. The comic book take on this is each Earth is set apart by the decisions people make for their lives. If you make one decision on this Earth, another version of you made a different decision on an alternate Earth. This leads to many possible new paths for the alternate person.
This has led me to wonder what an alternate version of myself could be doing with his life right about now, and if he could teach me any lessons on how I am living mine. Of course, the theory of the multiverse has never been proven, but has not really been disproven either, possibly adding to the list of things we don’t know yet about space.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention in this column that photos from space satellites and space telescopes probably provide the best landscape shots in the world, and the most used computer desktop wallpaper photos. Some may see pictures as just an aesthetic benefit, but it is also highly informative. This is one of the most immediate benefits derived from what we accumulate through space travel.
I am looking forward to more exciting discoveries from the space industry in the future. Who knows what we might learn next.