The Super Earth has a geothermal heater that could carry "life zones" under its surface.
The recently discovered cold super Earth exoplanet revolving around the red dwarf Barnard – Earth's second nearest star system – has the potential to harbor primitive life, a study says.
Barnard b (or GJ 699 b) is a super earth with a minimum of 3.2 Earth masses. It flows around its red star every 233 days near the snow line, a distance where the water freezes.
Although probably cold (-170 degrees Celsius), it could still lead primitive life when it's big and hot iron or nickel core and enhanced geothermal activity, researchers at Villanova University in the US said.
"Geothermal heating could support" life zones "beneath its surface, comparable to subterranean lakes in Antarctica," said Edward Guinan, astrophysicist at the varsity.
"We note that the surface temperature on Jupiter's icy moon is similar to that of Barnard b, but due to tidal heating, Europe is likely to have liquid oceans beneath its icy surface," Guinan added.
The findings were announced at the 233rd American Astronomy Society (AAS) meeting in Seattle.
Although very weak, Barnard b may be able to be portrayed by future very large telescopes, according to Guinan.
"Such observations will lose sight of the nature of the atmosphere, the surface and the potential habitability of the planet," he said.
The most important aspect of the discovery of the Barnard star b is that the two star systems closest to the Sun now host planets.
"This supports earlier studies based on Kepler mission data and suggests that planets can be very common throughout the galaxy, even tens of billions of dollars," said co-author Scott Engle of the University ,
Barnard's Star is about twice the age of the Sun ̵