Your Blogmeister’s Desk
The exoplanet hunt in the Alpha Centauri system had always been focused on the two main Sun-like stars in the system. Nobody gave a thought to the star in the system that’s not only a red dwarf, but may not actually be gravitationally bound to the system, as Proxima Centauri just might be passing through and A-B hyperbolically affected its path through the galaxy. However, it is the star that is closest to us, hence the name Proxima. And that’s where they found not only a planet, but a terrestrial planet in the Goldilocks Zone.
Problem is, the GZ of red dwarfs is so close to the star that any planet it it is going to be tidally locked to the star, i.e. its rotation equals its revolution, meaning one side always faces the star and the other side always faces the dark. So, unless there’s a thick windy atmosphere to transfer and distribute heat and a lot of a thermal stabilization and moderation agent like lots and lots of oceans of liquid water, that rock is going to be burning on one side and freezing on the other in perpetuity. Also, red dwarfs like to flare up really badly, which would cook potential terrestrial atmosphere-breathing life on the sunny side.
Before we develop viable technology to send something there, and hopefully we will have solved the phone home problem before we send something that way, there’s talk of a “moonbounce” operation, in which we’ll send a radar signal that way, and in a number of years that is twice its light year distance from Earth, we’ll get the bounce-back signal, from which we’ll be able to glean a lot of good science.