TESS satellite identifies nearby, potentially habitable super-Earth

We may find signs of life a mere 31 light-years away.

NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/Tim Pyle
  • The TESS satellite recently identified a nearby super-Earth sitting in the habitable zone of its star.
  • TESS isn't equipped to make the sensitive measurements necessary to characterize the planet's atmosphere, but models suggest the planet could have running water, a major indicator that it can host life.
  • The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will be able to look at this planet in greater detail and assess whether life exists on it or not.
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Something is producing weird orbits in the Kuiper belt — is it 'Planet X' or something else?

Some have suggested that there is no hidden giant out there.

Photo credit: Daniel Olah on Unsplash
  • Some objects at the edge of our solar system have unusual orbits — they cluster together suggesting a large celestial body is pushing them close together.
  • Instead of a massive unfound planet, it may be the gravitational pull from an equally massive disc of small, icy objects.
  • Researchers created a model of such a disc that explained everything.
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The Moon is inside Earth's atmosphere, European researchers say

Scientists examined data from 20 years ago to reach a startling new conclusion.

Earth appears over the Lunar horizon. Photo taken during the Apollo 11 mission. 1969. Credit: NASA
  • Observations made by the SOHO spacecraft over 20 years ago lead to a new discovery.
  • The Earth has a hydrogen envelope as part of its outer atmosphere called the geocorona.
  • The geocorona stretches well past the Moon, reveals a study.
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Here's what the new TESS telescope has already discovered

It has already found several bizarre planets outside of our solar system.

NASA/Kim Shiflett
  • The Kepler program closed down in August, 2018, after nine and a half years of observing the universe.
  • Picking up where it left off, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has already found eight planets, three of which scientists are very excited about, and six supernovae.
  • In many ways, TESS is already outperforming Kepler, and researchers expect it to find more than 20,000 exoplanets over its lifespan.
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Top 5 messages sent to alien civilizations

Between Carl Sagan's laughter, the brainwaves of somebody in love, and a live theremin concert, humanity has sent a lot of data out into the stars.

ESA/Hubble & NASA
  • Ever since we've had the capability, humanity has been desperately trying to make contact with other life in the universe.
  • While we've been beaming out information passively through our television and radio broadcasts, we've also sent more intentional messages.
  • Looking at these messages tells us how humanity wants to think of itself and what kind of relationship we hope to have with alien life.
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