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Trappist planets have water, may be ‘habitable’: researchers

Seven planets recently spotted orbiting a dim star in our Milky Way galaxy are rocky, seem to have water, and are potentially "habitable", researchers studying the distant system said Monday. Though much remains unknown about the planets' surfaces and atmospheres, the new measurements have not ruled out the possibility that they may harbour even rudimentary life, the scientists reported. "So far, no sign allows us to say that they are not habitable," said University of Birmingham astronomer Amaury Triaud, the co-author…

Move over Saturn! a dwarf planet has a ring to it

PARIS: Move over Saturn! Scientists have found a ring around an unassuming mini-planet in our Solar System to debunk the theory that only giant planets can be so adorned. The planet, dubbed Haumea, orbits the Sun far beyond Neptune -- the eighth and furthest recognised "full" planet in our star system since Pluto was downgraded to dwarf status in 2006. About eight billion kilometres (five billion miles) from the Sun, Haumea spins rapidly on its own axis, and has a flattened, cigar-like shape. It takes 285 years to…

NASA: let’s say something to Voyager 1 on 40th anniversary of launch

WASHINGTON: NASA is seeking suggestions from the public for a message to beam far, far out into space to the probe Voyager 1 in time for the 40th anniversary of its launch. The US space agency wants input via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media, and the public will vote on what short message we on earth should send to the intrepid, overachieving little space traveler. NASA said on its website that people have until August 15 to make submissions of a maximum of 60 characters. NASA, its Jet Propulsion…

NASA discovers 10 new Earth-size exoplanets

WASHINGTON: NASA revealed Monday 10 new rocky, Earth-sized planets that could potentially have liquid water and support life. The Kepler mission team released a survey of 219 potential exoplanets -- planets outside of our solar system -- that had been detected by the space observatory launched in 2009 to scan the Milky Way galaxy. Ten of the new discoveries were orbiting their suns at a distance similar to Earth's orbit around the sun, the so-called habitable zone that could potentially have liquid water and sustain…

NASA announces two missions to study early solar system

WASHINGTON: The US space agency NASA on Wednesday announced two unmanned missions to asteroids designed to study one of the earliest eras in the history of the solar system. They have been dubbed Lucy and Psyche, and NASA hopes to launch them in 2021 and 2023, respectively. The period NASA wants to learn more about is an era less than 10 million years after the birth of the sun. The Lucy mission -- named for a famous, critical hominin fossil set found in Ethiopia in 1974 -- will involve sending a robotic spacecraft…