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NASA Has Just Discovered a New Planet Unlike Any in Our Solar System

NASA has announced the discovery of three mysterious “missing link” planets in the TOI-270 star system.

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(TMU) — NASA’s latest planet-hunting satellite has discovered three new worlds, including an entirely new alien planet with characteristics unseen within our own solar system.

The strange new exoplanets, which means they are outside of our solar system, are a part of the TOI-270 star system.

The new system, which revolves around a neighboring star, includes a rocky super-Earth that is slightly larger than our planet, as well as two other gaseous planets twice the size of Earth. Researchers claim that the planets are a “missing link” that sits between the smaller rocky worlds, including our Earth and Mars, and much larger gaseous planets such as Saturn and Jupiter.

The discovery, which is detailed in the latest issue of scientific journal Nature Astronomy, was made possible by NASA’s Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched into space in 2018 and has since scanned the universe for stars and planets capable of supporting alien life.

The smaller super-Earth lies within the habitable zone, meaning that it lies within the range of distance from a Sun-like star that makes it temperate enough to allow for liquid-water oceans. It is also a “quiet” planet, meaning that it has fewer flares and scientists will be able to observe it and its neighboring planets with greater ease.

However, researchers believe that its atmosphere is so thick and dense that the planet is extremely hot, potentially making the surface too warm to support the type of life found on our planet.

Stephen Kane, a UC Riverside associate professor of planetary astrophysics and member of UCR’s NASA-funded Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center, said in a press release that the discovery is exactly what NASA’s satellite was designed to find.

Kane explained:

“We’ve found very few planets like this in the habitable zone, and many fewer around a quiet star, so this is rare. We don’t have a planet quite like this in our solar system.”

With a distance of only 73 light years away, the exoplanets are also among the closest ever found.

Kane explained:

“The diameter of our galaxy is 100,000 light years, and our galaxy is just one of millions of galaxies … So, 73 light years means it’s one of our neighboring stars.”

Researchers hope that the “missing link” solar system will shed greater light on why so few worlds exist at that size.

This graphic shows the worlds in the TOI 270 system. According to UCR, “temperatures given for TOI 270 planets are equilibrium temperatures, calculated without taking into account the warming effects of any possible atmospheres.” Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Lead researcher Maximilian Gunther from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said:

“TOI-270 will soon allow us to study this ‘missing link’ between rocky Earth-like planets and gas-dominant mini-Neptunes, because here all of these types formed in the same system.” 

Continuing, Gunther said:

“TOI-270 is a true Disneyland for exoplanet science, and one of the prime systems TESS was set out to discover.

It is an exceptional laboratory for not one, but many reasons – it really ticks all the boxes.”

Indeed, the researchers are hopeful that other planets within this solar system are waiting to be found.

The planets link together in what researchers describe as a “resonant chain,” meaning that their orbits line up in neat, whole integers—giving them a “resonance” with one another that gives researchers a method to discover more planets. Within our own solar system, the moons of Jupiter also line up in a “resonant” formation.

Gunther said:

“For TOI-270, these planets line up like pearls on a string.

That’s a very interesting thing, because it lets us study their dynamical behavior. And you can almost expect, if there are more planets, the next one would be somewhere further out, at another integer ratio.”

The team remains hopeful that additional planets will be discovered in the neighboring solar system. And while the smaller planet is unlikely to host life due to its dense atmosphere, those planets lying at a greater distance from the star could be cooler and more capable of allowing water to pool on their surface.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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