A search that has been a very, very long time in the making has been the hunt for Earth 2, or anything vaguely like our planet that may be able to support life.
While previously, the closest bodies we've found so far are Mars (and even that's pretty dire) and Europa, one of Jupiter's moons that is suspected to have a water ocean, astronomers have discovered an even better option: an Earth-ish-sized world around Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years away from our solar system and the star that lives closest to the sun.
Proxima b, like Earth, lives in the "habitable zone" of the star Proxima Centauri: a sweet spot to find water, and possibly, life. The discovery comes after a 15-year search around the red dwarf star, where astronomers have always suspected, but never had solid evidence of the existance of an Earth-like planet.
Not a lot is yet known, but according to the new data, Proxima b is around 1.3 times bigger than Earth and though it has a tighter orbit (around 11.2 Earth days) than us, red dwarves are slightly cooler than our sun, hence the "habitable zone". "We hope these findings inspire future generations to keep looking beyond the stars," said lead author Guillem Anglada-Escude, a physics and astronomy lecturer at Queen Mary University of London of the findings. "The search for life on Proxima b comes next."