Friday, August 26, 2016

Did we just discover Wunderland? No, Moiroi

Four years ago, I asked "Did we just discover Plateau?" in response to the discovery of a possibly habitable exoplanet around Tau Ceti.  Today, the question is "Did we just discover Wunderland?"  New Scientist has the story in Proxima b: an Earth-like planet on our cosmic doorstep.

We've found a planet orbiting in the habitable zone of our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.25 light years away. Here's what we know about it so far.
Nature has more in The exoplanet next door.

Astronomers have discovered evidence of a small, rocky planet orbiting our nearest star - and it may even be a bit like Earth. Nobody knows whether the planet, called Proxima b, could ever sustain life. The little planet orbits our sun's nearest neighbouring star, Proxima Centauri, making it the closest exoplanet ever found.
The answer is no, as Wunderland orbits Alpha Centauri, not Proxima Centauri.  It is, however, the next best thing, even if it is tidally locked.  That might make it a combination of We Made It and Jinx.

On the other hand, we might have discovered Moiroi from the game 2300 A.D.  According to Wkipedia's Alpha Centauri in Fiction article, it's the only habitable fictional planet with a proper name listed around Proxima Centauri.  The others are Proxima Centauri 3 from "Babylon 5," an unnamed planet in Stanislaw Lem's "The Megallanic Cloud," and another unnamed planet in "Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD."  Since they don't have names, Moiroi it is.


  1. Well, it's only FOUR LIGHT YEARS AWAY... so we could, um... well... can we even send radio broadcasts in their direction (calculated for distance and signal degradation, of course)?

    1. We can. We sent the Arecibo Message in 1974 to globular star cluster M13 some 25,000 light years away, so four light years away is no problem. Honestly, we've been beaming out radio transmissions for nearly 100 years already. If there is anyone on the planet with radio reception, they can listen to the reporting of the 2012 primaries right now.