Still, that mystery goes both ways and could be reason to hold out onto a tiny bit of extraterrestrial hope. “It could be possible that the surface is a bit warmer and could host liquid forms of some molecules, maybe like methane,” says Teske. “And we know of moons in our solar system that are covered in a thick layer of ice but have liquid oceans underneath,” like Europa and Enceladus. Barnard’s star itself is an old red dwarf and not very active, with means there wouldn’t be much concern that it would be inundating any nearby planets with too much stellar radiation. And although it’s a super-Earth, it’s still in the range of planetary masses we think could support life. It’s all speculative, but the prospects of habitability on Barnard’s star b aren’t totally diminished.