Potentially Habitable Planet Discovered Only 4.2 Light-Years Away

Aug 24, 2016 at 3:32 PM ET

On Wednesday, scientists discovered a planet that they say could be potentially habitable… and it’s next door.

The planet, which researchers are calling Proxima b, orbits Proxima Centauri, the star closest our own sun. That sets it about 4.2 light-years away from us. It’s 1.3 times the size of earth and makes a complete orbit around its sun every 11.2 Earth days.

There’s obviously a lot to explore before we load all the humans onto a big ship and shoot ourselves en masse away from the planet we’ve trashed, but it’s an exciting first step.