There’s a rock out there with an Earth-like mass, whirling round a star at a distance that should allow water to stay liquid. Amongst astrobiologists and NASA nerds, that’s a big deal. A real big deal. However, the star in question is Proxima Centauri, the Milky Way’s nearest stellar neighbor (only 4.37 light-years from Earth. That means it would take 165,000 years to get there by space shuttle or probe). For scientists, it raises the question about life. Yep, alien life. But it’s a damn difficult question to get right. Advanced telescopes and cameras could spot molecules and organic chemistry like water, oxygen and an atmosphere — but a camera that kickass doesn’t yet exist (a few prototypes are being build now but it will take a while). Also, just because that kind of organic chemistry is conducive to life doesn’t necessarily guarantee it. But whatevs. The exoplanet in question is Proxima Centauri b and it’s smack-dab in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold Goldilocks Zone where life is possible. “We hit the jackpot here,” said Guillem Anglada-Escude, an astrophysicist at the Queen Mary University of London and lead author of a study on the discovery in the journal Nature. He said the planet is “more or less what we have on Earth.” Wow, new life, new civilizations — maybe(?). Game on.