Elon Musk recently expressed support on social media for Ted Kaczynski’s belief that technology poses a significant threat to humanity. However, the billionaire entrepreneur continues to harness the power of technology, particularly through his company SpaceX, for the ambitious project to colonize Mars.
Now, according to Futurism, Musk has set his sights on another potentially habitable exoplanet outside our star system for possible colonization. Proxima Centauri B, located just over 4 light-years away in the Alpha Centauri system, where James Cameron’s movie Avatar takes place, was first discovered in 2016. Scientists consider this exoplanet a potential host candidate for life.
Given that Elon Musk has openly expressed his concern over the length of human survival and his goal of creating self-sustaining colonies on other planets, it stands to reason that Proxima Centauri B would have piqued his interest. Since the discovery of the exoplanet, it has been the subject of several studies. Scientists used computer simulations to assess Proxima Centauri B’s ability to support liquid water and possibly life.
In a 2018 study, Anthony Del Genio, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, stated that simulations show a reasonable probability that Proxima Centauri B is habitable. The study concludes that the exoplanet, which is roughly the size of Earth, maybe the closest highly habitable planet to our solar system. However, given that SpaceX has yet to reach Mars, traveling 4.2 light years to this exoplanet will certainly present a huge challenge for Elon Musk.
Proxima Centauri B has a gravitational lock similar to Earth’s moon, causing one side of the exoplanet to face the parent star. Simply put, this means that the same side is always exposed to the heat and light of the star.
Computer simulations show that the planet’s oceans and atmosphere circulate, facilitating efficient heat transfer and preventing its dark side from permanently freezing. Despite its proximity to us compared to other potentially habitable planets, the exoplanet is still a staggering 40 trillion kilometers, or 25 trillion miles, from us. This enormous distance requires technological advances that have not yet been achieved. At this stage, the sheer distance to Proxima Centauri B remains insurmountable even for forward-thinkers like Elon Musk.