"Hold Off on the Alpha Centauri Trip," The New York Times announced in its story last week about the doubtful planet.
But this question really misses the point. There has been a paradigm shift from a decade ago when astronomers wondered how many other stars had planets. The question today is where are the planets located around a star? How big are they, and what is the evolution of the planetary system?
ANALYSIS: The Coolest Thing About Alpha Centauri A
The impressive planet inventory take by NASA's Kepler space observatory, combined with other research, has taken us down the road to concluding that, on average, every star in the Milky Way galaxy has at least one planet. What's more, Earth-sized planets are far more common than giant Jupiters.
If we ever convinced ourselves that Alpha Centauri doesn't have any planets, that would indeed be quite a shocker and worthy of front-page news in the New York Times.
Even if the Alpha Centauri B planet doesn't exist, there is very little doubt that other planets will be discovered there. It's only a matter of time. Perhaps all three members of the triple system of two sunlike stars and a diminutive red dwarf star possess planets.