Earth-like planet could have evolved life, according to reports in BBC News, Science (AAAS) News, ScienceDaily and Nature News 24 August 2016, and Nature, 2016; doi: 10.1038/nature19106.

An international team of astronomers led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé, from Queen Mary University, London, claim to have identified a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to our solar system. According to Science News, “The planet was found using the radial velocity method: Telescopes scrutinize a star’s light to see if its frequency is periodically stretched and squeezed by the Doppler effect as the star is tugged, first away and then toward us, by an orbiting planet”.

The planet is named Proxima b and scientists estimate it is 1.3 times the mass of earth. It is very close to its star, only 5% of the distance between earth and the sun, and orbits its star once every 11.2 days. In spite of this closeness to its star the planet would only receive about 65% of the heat Earth receives from our sun because Proxima centauri is a red dwarf star and is significantly smaller and dimmer than our sun. However, this does put the planet in the “habitable zone”, i.e. the right temperature zone to have liquid water if it has an atmosphere.

Guillem Anglada-Escudé commented: “Many exoplanets have been found and many more will be found, but searching for the closest potential Earth-analogue has been the experience of a lifetime for all of us”. He went on to say: “The search for life on Proxima b comes next”. According to ScienceDaily the planet may be “the closest possible abode for life outside the Solar System”.

In spite of these high hopes, Science News suggests “the planet isn’t particularly welcoming for life”. It is probably tidally locked with one side always facing its sun, giving it one permanently lit hot side and one permanently dark cold side, and the proximity to its sun means it receives high levels of ultra-violet light and x-ray and intense blasts of high energy particles during stellar flares, which are very common as red dwarf stars tend to fare a lot.

BBC, Nature news, Science News, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: The current obsession with finding a planet that could support liquid water is due to a misguided belief that because life exists on earth wherever we find liquid water, life must be able to evolve wherever there is liquid water. Furthermore, red dwarf stars are considered to have had long lives, and according to John Webb of the University of NSW, “This means life should have lots of time to evolve and develop around such a star”. (See “What is the Goldilocks Zone and why does it matter in the search for ET?” ABC Science 22 February 2016 here).

Let’s consider what scientists have now actually found. They have observed a small disturbance in the light coming from the star. They have not observed a planet, neither have they observed water on such a planet. Even if there is a planet out there with liquid water on its surface that does not mean it will have life, because it takes more than water and chemicals at the right temperature to make life, no matter how much time you have.

Life requires genetic information, and information is not generated by chemistry and physics – these are just used to store and transmit information. The information for life comes from the mind of the Creator Jesus who made chemicals and chooses where He uses them to make life.

All the efforts and enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money that have gone into searching for liquid water on Mars, and now a distant inferred planet claimed to be orbiting a far-away star is sadly a huge expense designed to pretend to explain life without the Creator. 

Evidence News vol. 16,
No. 16 14 September 2016
Creation Research Australia

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