New Delhi: It is now common knowledge that our solar system's closest neighbour, Alpha Centauri, has a number of planets that mimic our own home-planet, Earth.
Alpha Centauri has been in the limelight ever since this discovery was made in 2009, which then gave rise to the revelation of other planets in the star system. Now, scientists are planning to take a step further and investigate our interstellar neighbour for the presence of alien life, through a mission called 'Project Blue'.
Project Blue aims to launch a small, light-weight telescope into Earth's orbit in 2019, which will peek into two of the stars of Alpha Centauri, due to their close proximity to each other.
As per Nature World News, experts say that Proxima Centauri has Sun-like properties making it easier to conclude that there could also be Earth-like planets that orbit the star. The use of a smaller telescope will be employed by researchers to study Alpha Centauri because the proximity of the star system to Earth makes it easier to view it even by just using a tiny and inexpensive instruments. One of its main missions is to find more Earth-like exoplanets.
Jon Morse, CEO of the BoldlyGo Institute, one of the project’s leaders said that there is a very high need to go to space for making high precision measurements and look for life. He believes that we can find Earth 2.0 in the Alpha Centauri that will have the rocky surface and necessary ingredients to support life, TeCake reported.
As per TeCake, Morse also said that ‘Project Blue’ would contain two high-altitude balloons to test the equipment that will be sent in space. Later, the team will launch a refrigerators-sized telescope with the support of the US space agency NASA and the telescope will be in space for three years from 2019 to 2022 monitoring the planets and stars located in Alpha Centauri.
According to the project blue researchers, Earth 2.0 could be lingering near planet Earth. They will try to compare exoplanets to the "pale blue dot", an image of Earth taken by NASA"s Voyager 1 in 1990 that shows how this planet looked like from afar, according to Nature World News.
Project Blue is led by Mission Centaur, a project focused on finding Exoplanets in Alpha Centauri. The NGO is working with BoldlyGo, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in this project.