By now, you are probably already as excited as we are about NASA’s press conference scheduled later today where the premier space agency is expected to make an announcement of much significance. While announcing the press event, NASA representatives stated that it is going to be about a big “beyond our Solar System discovery”.
Needless to say, speculations have been rife since with many even going to the extent that the announcement could be about the discovery of the first traces of life in an alien world.
Sure, we can not rule out that possibility completely as of yet. However, those who are predisposed to the more realistic side of things — at least based on the precedence set by similar press conferences in the past — it is highly likely that NASA will be divulging something important regarding one or more exoplanets.
The wider perception as of now is it could be about the habitability of at least one planet orbiting any of the stars in the closest neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri (or other neighboring stars).
— NASA (@NASA) February 21, 2017
Worth noting, the last time an exoplanet was subject to hypes of such high magnitude was when the European Space Organization confirmed the discovery of Proxima Centauri b, commonly referred to as Proxima b, which is an Earth-like planet in Alpha Centauri.
Note that based on the data accumulated so far, many scientists are skeptical about the habitability of Proxima b. However, given the fact that the planet is located so close to our Solar System — roughly at a distance of 50-years of travel using existing technologies — Proxima b remains one of the most likely destinations for humanity’s first exoplanet mission.
So far, NASA has remained tight-lipped about the announcement other than clarifying that it”present new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our Sun, known as exoplanets”.
The announcement will be aired live on NASA TV, alongside the agency’s official website. If you have any relevant question that you would like to have answered by NASA scientists, post them using the hashtag #askNASA. In addition, there will also be Reddit AMA session following the announcement.
How do you think the world would it react if it turns out to be something much more exciting than mere an update about the habitability of a distant world? Let us know in the comments below.