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Nearby alien planet may be capable of supporting life

This artist’s illustration shows the potentially temperate planet Ross 128b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. Credit: M. Kornmesser/ESO One of the nearest exoplanets to Earth may be a decent abode for life. Ross 128b — which lies just 11 light-years from our planet — is likely a rocky and temperate world, a new study suggests. “Although Ross 128b is not Earth’s twin, and there is still much we don’t know about its potential geologic activity, we were able to strengthen the argument that it’s a temperate planet that could potentially have liquid water on its surface,” lead author Diogo Souto, of the Observatório Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said in a statement. [10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life] Ross 128b has excited and intrigued astr...

Why does Venus spin so weirdly?

A composite image of Venus as seen by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft. Venus’ spin varies because of atmospheric waves over the planet’s mountains, according to a new study.  (JAXA) For years, scientists have been unable to agree on the length of a day on Venus, but one new study might put an end to this confusion. The planet Venus rotates very slowly, with a single revolution taking about 243 Earth days, and this rotation rate varies. Additionally, while the planet turns slowly, its atmosphere moves dramatically faster, making a complete rotation in only four Earth days, according to a statement about the new study. However, while we can follow the planet’s changing rotation, until now, scientists weren’t able to clearly explain why the rate changes.   Thanks to ...

Seasonal changes in exoplanet’s atmosphere could signal alien life

This contrasting artistic image of an early Martian environment with a thicker atmosphere (left) and the cold, dry Mars of today (right) shows how atmospheric changes affect a planet’s ability to hold life.  (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) Seasonal changes in an alien planet’s atmosphere could signal the presence of extraterrestrial life, new research suggests. Researchers aim to expand our ability to hunt for aliens by creating a new search protocol to be used with next-generation telescopes. As described in a paper published yesterday (May 9) in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, a research team at University of California, Riverside’s (UCR) Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center has used the way Earth’s atmosphere changes from season to season to devel...

‘Super Earth’ is discovered and it has perfect conditions for aliens

(Credit: University of Montreal) Scientists have discovered a supersized version of Earth that could host life on a distant galaxy. The planet, named K2-18b, has been dubbed a rocky “super earth” that orbits a Sun-like star. And it is positioned in a solar sweetspot — making it possible to host life-giving liquid water. Researchers at the University of Texas and University of Montreal revealed the stunning findings, that could signal a perfect habitat for alien life. K2-18b even has a neighbouring sister planet, the cleverly named K2-18c, but is unlikely to host life because it is slightly closer to its Sun. Lead author Ryan Cloutier said: “Being able to measure the mass and density of K2-18b was tremendous, but to discover a new exoplanet was lucky and equally exciting”. But while the pla...

Scorching-hot alien planet may have Earth-like atmosphere

The searing-hot planet 55 Cancri e likely has a thick atmosphere with a similar composition to that of Earth, a new study suggests.  (NASA/JPL Caltech) A planet circling a star in the constellation Cancer might have an atmosphere similar to Earth’s, but with dayside temperatures hot enough to melt titanium, a new study suggests.  The planet is called 55 Cancri e, and it lies about 41 light-years from the sun. The alien world has a diameter twice that of Earth and harbors about eight times more mass than our planet.  55 Cancri e was discovered in 2004, and it orbits just 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) from its host star — so close that a year on the alien planet lasts just 18 hours. In fact, 55 Cancri e is tidally locked, meaning it always shows the same face to its star. ...

Rocket launch will prove Earth is flat, California man says

Mike Hughes is shown with his steam-powered rocket constructed out of salvage parts. He plans to launch it Saturday.  (Associated Press) A California man intends to launch himself 1,800 feet high on Saturday in a home-built rocket to prove that astronauts faked the shape of the Earth. Mike Hughes, a 61-year-old limo driver, said his stunt will be the first phase of the flat-Earth space program, sponsored by Research Flat Earth, a group that believes Earth is, well, flat. The rocket should travel about a mile at a speed of roughly 500 mph. “If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot,” Hughes said. “It’s scary as hell, but none of us are getting out of this world alive. I like to do extraordinary things that no one else can do, and no one in the history of mankind has designed, built and...

Newly discovered planet could be home to alien life

An artist’s impression of the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background.  (ESO/M. Kornmesser) The question “Are we alone in the universe?” has bewildered mankind for eons as the search for alien life thus far has yielded no results. But science’s latest discovery may give new hope on that front —and it could be closer than you think. Newly discovered planet Ross 128 b has all of the characteristics of a planet that could support life, astronomers wrote in a new research paper detailing their findings. WHAT DARWIN CAN TELL US ABOUT ALIENS “Stellar activity is probably the highest concern regarding the emergence of life, and even the survival of an atmosphere, on planets orbiting M dwarfs,” the paper reads. “Restri...