The 'Earth-like' exoplanet Proxima b was hit by a 'superflare' 10 times larger than any other ever seen, making the chances of any life surviving there slim, a new report reveals.Discovered in 2016, Proxima b orbits around the closest star to the sun, Proxima Centuari, and was hailed by astronomers as a suitable location for life forms -- perhaps, even human life in the future.And at just four light years away, experts believe that it could be reached by spacecrafts in the future that can explore its surface.However, the massive solar flare, observed by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, probably wiped out any life on the planet.The superflare made Proxima Centauri 68 times brighter than usual and may have exposed any life on its orbiting Proxima b planet to lethal levels of ultraviolet radiation.That's because 'sufficiently bright and frequent flares and any associated proton events may destroy the planet's ozone layer, allowing lethal levels of UV flux to reach its surface,' the astronomers wrote in a paper published on Tuesday.Proxima Centauri's 'high stellar activity', such as the solar flare, 'casts doubt' on the habitability of Proxima b, they added.The solar flare was observed in March 2016 by Evryscope, an array of telescopes that operates at UNC Chapel Hill.'The UV light produced by the Evryscope superflare therefore reached the surface with 100 times the intensity required to kill simple UV-hardy microorganisms, suggesting that life would struggle to survive in the areas of Proxima b exposed to these flares', the study continues.Astronomers estimate that roughly five of these superflares occur each year.What's more, scientists believe the extreme solar activity will likely reduce the ozone of Proxima b's Earth-like atmosphere by 90% within five years.They estimate that the atmosphere will be completely depleted in just under a hundred thousand years.In the meantime, however, any remaining living organisms on Proxima b's surface have needed to significantly adapt in order to survive.'Recent results have suggested that some more complex life such as lichens evolved for extreme environments and with adaptations such as UV-screening pigments may survive these radiation levels,' the astronomers wrote in the report.'This suggests that life on Proxima b will have to undergo complex adaptations to survive, even if the planetary atmosphere survives the long-term impact of the stellar activity'.This isn't the first time scientists have discovered Proxima b is susceptible to feeling the heat from massive solar flares.Earlier this year, researchers found that a huge solar flare in 2017 wiped any trace of aliens from the planet.At its peak, the flare from Proxima Centauri was 1,000 times brighter than the star normally is, and 10 times brighter than the largest flares from our sun.Astronomers believe Proxima b may have been hit with 4,000 times more deadly radiation than solar flares unleashed on the Earth.A November pap
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