(CNN)Astronomers have found a frozen exoplanet more than three times the mass of Earth, orbiting a star thats only six light-years away. The exoplanet is orbiting Barnards star, the closest solitary star to our sun.
A HUGE world has been found orbiting the third-closest star to us and could harbour alien life, according to experts.
Potential super-Earth finally found around Barnards Star
Barnard’s Star b has surface temperatures of 150C, rocky terrain and is about 3.2 times the size of Earth.
The star is only six light years away from us, which is hardly a long distance in astronomical terms (Earth is just one light-year from the Sun).
Astronomers now believe there is a chance that life may be evolving under the planet’s thick ice sheets.
Professor Carole Haskell, head of astronomy at the Open University, said it was possible aliens could be discovered.
She told Mail Online: “Famously, Europa has a sub-surface ocean which has been considered as a potential habitat for life. It is possible Bernard’s Star b may offer similar niches for life.
“Tantalisingly, super-Earths like Barnard’s Star b probably sustain geothermal activity for longer than their lower mass counterparts.
“This could be helpful to life by providing sustained heat and the chemicals needed to build complex organic molecules.
“This new discovery offers exciting prospects to learn more about the galaxy’s diversity of planetary systems, starting with our own solar system’s near neighbours.”
It comes after Daily Star Online revealed a huge meteorite with a 19 mile-wide impact site massively change life on Earth when it hit us some 12,000 years ago.
An international team of scientists came across the crater below the Hiawatha Glacier in north-west Greenland, believed to have been made when an almost mile-wide iron meteorite smashed into the country before it was covered with ice.
It is believed the impact could have drastically altered the climate and led to serious consequences for life on Earth at the time.
The scars of the meteorite smash have been preserved since then after being buried underneath ice more about a mile thick.