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Among the 219 Potentially Habitable Worlds, NASA Locates 10 Earth Twins!



Earth Twins
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There are a plethora of worlds out there, with 10 Earth twins among those. But there’s just one that demands our attention.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that we’re probably not alone. Well, at least there are many worlds similar to ours, and that gives us hope that we will soon stumble upon intelligent life. But, in case we don’t, at least we will have other worlds to call our own.

Recently, NASA discovered even more of these worlds, 219 to be exact, which is added to the many other possibly habitable planets discovered in the past.

Among those 219 planets, 10 of them are of earth-like quality.

KOI 7711.01

In this small stash of planets, we find one which stands out – KOI 7711.01. Only 30% larger than Earth, this planet has many other habitable qualities. For one, it is found within the zone where liquid water could exist or the so-called Goldilocks zone.

This is a major plus! At 1,700 light-years away, KOI 7711.01 orbits a star much like our own sun.

A member of the discovery team at the SETI Institute, Susan Thompson said,

“It gets approximately the same amount of heat that we get from our own star”.

Although this is quite a bit of knowledge concerning KOI 7711.01, there is still so much we don’t know. Of course, there is probably water on the planet, considering its proximity to the Goldilocks zone, but we still don’t know much about the atmosphere.

Kepler Observations

NASA’s Kepler telescope, in 2009, began its quest to find other planets like our own. As it started its orbit around the sun, Kepler monitored blips in brightness when far away planets crossed in front of their suns.

Recording the duration of this absence of light, scientists were able to determine how large the planets were and how far away they resided from their sun.

During this journey, Kepler found 50 rocky planets which could possibly hold water and sustain life. That’s 50 out of almost 4,000 assumptions.

No, that’s not much, but it’s quite a hand full of hopefuls, I would think. In this small group, Kepler discovered one planet that had the best qualities of the whole lot.

KOI 7711.01 was discovered by the NASA’s Kepler telescope during the discovery of over 2,000 other planets. This special planet was one of the 10 best selections existing within the habitable zone.

Thompson said,

“Most of the planets found by Kepler are smaller than Neptune and Kepler really, truly has opened up our eyes to the existence of these small, terrestrial worlds.”

As scientists analyze and pick apart every detail about the remaining 50 hopeful planets, we wait to see just how many earthly twins will be included in the universal census.

After all, life flourishes out there somewhere.

Maybe we cannot see it yet, but odds are growing ever in its favor. It’s only a matter of time before we find that life or we colonize the universe. Either way, excitement is an understatement.

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Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”



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In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.

The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.

The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.

The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on “Collided with satellite.”

 “This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.

“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”

However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes

The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.

“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”

He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”

A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”

One hopes that things don’t reach that point.

In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.

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Boston Dynamics Drops New Video Of 5-Foot Atlas Humanoid Robot Effortlessly Doing Parkour



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Robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new video of its two-legged Atlas robot effortlessly completing a parkour obstacle course, offering a new display of its humanoid machines’ unsettling repertoire.

In the video, a pair of Atlas robots can be seen leaping over large gaps, vaulting beams, and even performing backflips. The robot can even be seen jumping over a board while using its arm to remain steady.

While the display seems like anything but “free” running – as the original developers of parkour had envisioned – the routine does seem like an impressive, if terrifying, display of effective coding that took months to perfect, according to the Hyundai-owned robotics firm.

“It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video,” said Atlas control lead Benjamin Stephens.

See for yourself:

Unlike its robotic dog Spot, which controversially hit New York City streets last year before being pulled, Atlas isn’t a production robot. Instead, it’s a research model meant to see how far the limits of robotics can be pushed.

In the past, Boston Dynamics has displayed the robot’s feats with videos of Atlas jogging and even busting out some cool dance moves.

Team lead Scott Kuindersma said in a statement that in about two decades, we can expect to coexist with robots that move “with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives.”

Until then, some of us will continue to reserve our right to feel a bit queasy about the prospect of people being chased down by these skilled free-running (and dancing) machines.

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South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash



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What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

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