Ross 128B is the second closest exoplanet to Earth, with similar surface temperatures, raising hopes that it could potentially support life.
The planet was discovered by a team of astronomers in Chile, using the La Silla Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher.
Located just 11 light years away, Ross 128 b orbits a red dwarf star considerably smaller and dimmer than the Sun.
Although it circles the star at a distance 20 times closer than our planet does the sun, the level of solar radiation is not thought to be much more than that received on earth.
It therefore falls into the so called “Goldilocks zone” – a planet that is neither too close nor too far from a star, but just close enough to sustain liquid water.
Nicola Astudillo-Defru from the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, was part of the team that discovered Ross 128 B.
She told BBC News: “Just because Proxima Centauri blasts its planet with strong flares and high energy radiation, yes, I think Ross 128 B is much more comfortable for the development of life.
“But we still need to know what the atmosphere of Ross 128 b is like. Depending on its composition and the reflectivity of its clouds, the exoplanet may be life friendly with liquid water as the Earth, or sterile like Venus.”
NASA has growing list of planets that could sustain alien and human life.
There are now a total of 50 exoplanets far beyond our solar system, that are of interest to astronomers and astrophysicists across the globe.
The US space agency said: “In the past 30 years our knowledge of life in extreme environments has exploded.
“Scientists have found microbes in nuclear reactors, microbes that love acid, microbes that swim in boiling-hot water.
“Whole ecosystems have been discovered around deep sea vents where sunlight never reaches and the emerging vent-water is hot enough to melt lead.
“The Goldilocks Zone is bigger than we thought.”