Alien Solar System Is a Lot Like Ours, Say Astronomers
Using NASA's Kepler space telescope, astronomers have found an alien solar system that exhibits the same structure as ours, with planets rotating on a single plane around their parent star.
What's the Latest Development?
Examining data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, astronomers have found that an alien planetary system bears many similarities to our own, confirming parts of planet formation theory which suggest that most planetary systems begin in similar fashion. "Researchers studying the star system Kepler-30, which is 10,000 light-years from Earth, found that its three known worlds all orbit in the same plane, lined up with the rotation of the star—just like the planets in our own solar system do." The planetary system consists of three known extrasolar planets circling a sunlike star, all of which are much larger than Earth.
What's the Big Idea?
Since its launch in March 2009, the Kepler space telescope has located more than 2,300 potential alien worlds, 700 of which have been confirmed as genuine planets. "Kepler uses the 'transit method,' noting the telltale brightness dips caused when a planet crosses, or transits, a star's face from the telescope's perspective. In the new study, the scientists studied Kepler observations of the extrasolar system even more closely." While we once believed our position in the cosmos was privileged, it is becoming clearer than our solar system, sun and planet may be rather ordinary. Astronomers have identified between five and ten alien planetary systems where they can further test their theories.
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In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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