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Posted on Wednesday, April 25 - 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - European astronomers have spotted what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet outside our solar system, with balmy temperatures that could support water and, potentially, life. They have not directly seen the planet, orbiting a red dwarf star called Gliese 581. But measurements of the star suggest that a planet not much larger than the Earth is pulling on it, the researchers say in a letter to the editor of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. "This one is the first one that is at the same time probablyrocky, with water, and in a zone close to the star where the water could exist in liquid form," said Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, who led the study.

"We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius (32 to 104 degrees F), and water would thus be liquid." Most of the 200 or so planets that have been spotted outside this solar system have been gas giants like Jupiter. But this one is small. "Its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky, like our Earth, or covered with oceans," Udrysaid in a telephone interview.It appears to have a mass five times that of Earth's. The research team includes scientists credited with the first widely accepted discovery of a planet outside our solar system, in 1995. Many teams are looking for planets circling other stars. They are especially looking for those similar to our own, planets that could support life. That means finding water.To view the rest of this article, please visit the source

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Views : 10576

Posted on Friday, August 30 - 2013

India"s Chang"e-2 spacecraft.
Image Credit: Wikipedia


China is stepping up its space program with plans to launch a lunar probe before the year is out. The mission willrepresent the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another world and will be the second phase of their lunar program.

The probe, known as Chang"e-3, is scheduled to launch later this year from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China."Chang"e-3 has officially entered its launch stage, following its research and manufacture period," the space agency said in a statement. Tests of the carrierrocket and launch systems have already been successfully carried out."The Chang"e-3 mission makes best use of a plethora of innovative technology," said lunar program chief commander Ma Xingrui. "It is an extremely difficult mission, that carries great risk."

Source: Xinhua

Views : 4032

Posted on Sunday, August 25 - 2013

An astronaut collects a sample from the asteroid.
Image Credit: NASA


The space agency has revealed new concept images detailing their plans to land astronauts on an asteroid. The newly released images depict the planned rendezvous between amanned Orion spacecraft and an asteroid that has been moved in to a near-Earth orbit.

Among the pictures are concepts showing Orion reaching its destination and astronauts on a spacewalk collecting samples from the surface of the asteroid.Despite concerns over NASA"s budget, the space agency has confirmed that it is still committed to the ARU ( Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization ) mission with a tentative launch date estimated to be within the next 12 years.It is hoped thatif successful, the mission will not only represent the first time humans have landed on an asteroid but will also open the door to a new era of space exploration.The full gallery of images released by NASA are available to view - here.

Source: NASA

Views : 451

Posted on Wednesday, August 21 - 2013

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano had been out on a spacewalk when his helmet started to fill with water.The claustrophobic feeling of being confined within a spacesuit may seem unnerving enough, but to then have the helmet start filling up with water is more akin to a science fiction horror movie. In a recent spacewalk Luca Parmitano found himself in exactly this predicament, with water sloshing around inside his helmet he was unable to even see properly as he desperately attempted to save himself from disaster."The watercovers my nose - a really awful sensation that I make worse by my vain attempts to move the water by shaking my head," he wrote.

"By now, the upper part of the helmet is full of water and I can"t even be sure that the next time I breathe, I will fill my lungs with air, and not liquid."Fortunately the Italian astronaut was able to get back inside the space station using his safety cable to pull him back towards the hatch. NASA has been unable to find the exact cause of the problem but believes it relates to the spacesuit"s life-support equipment backpack. "An Italianastronaut who nearly drowned in his helmet during a spacewalk has told of how he felt all alone and frantically tried to come up with a plan to save himself."  

View: Full article |  Source: Brisbane Times  

Views : 2539


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