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ESPRESSO and CARMENES Discover Two Potentially Habitable Exo-Earths Around A Star Near The Sun

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The newly discovered planets orbit the star GJ 1002, which is at a distance of less than 16 light years from the Solar System.

“Nature seems bent on showing us that Earth-like planets are very common. With these two we now know 7 in planetary systems quite near to the Sun” explains Alejandro Suárez Mascareño, an IAC researcher, who is the first author of the study accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

 

The newly discovered planets orbit the star GJ 1002, which is at a distance of less than 16 light years from the Solar System. Both of them have masses similar to that of the Earth, and they are in the habitability zone of their star. GJ 1002b, the inner of the two, takes little more than 10 days to complete an orbit around the star, while GJ 1002c needs a little over 21 days. “GJ 1002 is a red dwarf star, with barely one eighth the mass of the Sun. It is quite a cool, faint star. This means that its habitability zone is very close to the star” explains Vera María Passegger, a co-author of the article and an IAC researcher.

The proximity of the star to our Solar System implies that the two planets, especially GJ 1002c, are excellent candidates for the characterization of their atmospheres based either on their reflected light, or on their thermal emission. “The future ANDES spectrograph for the ELT telescope at ESO in which the IAC is participating, could study the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of GJ 1002c” notes Jonay I. González Hernández, an IAC researcher who is a co-author of the article. In addition, both planets satisfy the characteristics needed for them to be objectives for the future LIFE mission, which is presently in a study phase.

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The discovery was made during a collaboration between the consortia of the two instruments ESPRESSO and CARMENES. GJ 1002 was observed by CARMENES between 2017 and 2019, and by ESPRESSO between 2019 and 2021. “Because of its low temperature the visible light from GJ 1002 is too faint to measure its variations in velocity with the majority of spectrographs” says says Ignasi Ribas, researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) and director of the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC). CARMENES has a sensitivity over a wide range of near infrared wavelengths which is superior to those of other spectrographs aimed at detecting variations in the velocities of stars, and this allowed it to study GJ 1002, from the 3.5m telescope at Calar Alto observatory.

The combination of ESPRESSO, and the light gathering power of the VLT 8m telescopes at ESO allowed measurements to be made with an accuracy of only 30 cm/sec, not attainable with any other instrument in the world. “Either of the two groups would have had many difficulties if they had tackled this work independently. Jointly we have been able to get much further than we would have done acting independently” states Suárez Mascareño.

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ASTEROID TO WHIP BY EARTH THURSDAY NIGHT WITH NO CHANCE OF HITTING OUR PLANET: NASA – Zoomer Radio

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It feels like a scene out of the movie Don’t Look Up when two low-level astronomers go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest such encounters ever recorded.

NASA insists it will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth.

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NASA said Wednesday that this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) above the southern tip of South America. That’s 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites circling overhead.

The closest approach will occur at 7:27 p.m. EST.

Even if the space rock came a lot closer, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites.

NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”

Discovered Saturday, the asteroid known as 2023 BU is believed to be between 11 feet (3.5 meters) and 28 feet (8.5 meters) feet across. It was first spotted by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.

(This diagram made available by NASA shows the estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, affected by the earth’s gravity, and the orbit of geosynchronous satellites, in green. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, NASA revealed that this newly discovered asteroid, about the size of a truck, will zoom 2,200 miles above the southern tip of South America Thursday evening. Scientists say there is no risk of an impact. Even if it came a lot closer, scientists say it would burn up in the atmosphere, with only a few small pieces reaching the surface. NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The asteroid’s path drastically will be altered by Earth’s gravity once it zips by. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA.

(The Associated Press)

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An asteroid will whip by Earth tomorrow in one of closest approaches ever recorded

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An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest such encounters ever recorded.

NASA insists it will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth.

The U.S. space agency said Wednesday that this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 3,600 kilometres above the southern tip of South America. That’s 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites circling overhead.

The closest approach will occur at 7:27 p.m. ET.

300x250x1

Even if the space rock came a lot closer, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites.

NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement.

“In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”

Asteroid spotted by amateur astronomer in Crimea

Discovered Saturday, the asteroid known as 2023 BU is believed to be 3.5 to 8.5 metres across.

It was first spotted by Gennady Borisov, the same amateur astronomer in Crimea who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019.

Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.

The asteroid’s path will be drastically altered by Earth’s gravity once it zips by. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA.

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Nuclear-powered spaceships? U.S. plans for 2027

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WASHINGTON –

The United States plans to test a spacecraft engine powered by nuclear fission by 2027 as part of a long-term NASA effort to demonstrate more efficient methods of propelling astronauts to Mars in the future, the space agency’s chief said on Tuesday.

NASA will partner with the U.S. military’s research and development agency, DARPA, to develop a nuclear thermal propulsion engine and launch it to space “as soon as 2027,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said during a conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

The U.S. space agency has studied for decades the concept of nuclear thermal propulsion, which introduces heat from a nuclear fission reactor to a hydrogen propellant in order to provide a thrust believed to be far more efficient than traditional chemical-based rocket engines.

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NASA officials view nuclear thermal propulsion as crucial for sending humans beyond the moon and deeper into space. A trip to Mars from Earth using the technology could take roughly four months instead of some nine months with a conventional, chemically powered engine, engineers say.

That would substantially reduce the time astronauts would be exposed to deep-space radiation and would also require fewer supplies, such as food and other cargo, during a trip to Mars.

“If we have swifter trips for humans, they are safer trips,” NASA deputy administrator and former astronaut Pam Melroy said Tuesday.

The planned 2027 demonstration, part of an existing DARPA research program that NASA is now joining, could also inform the ambitions of the U.S. Space Force, which has envisioned deploying nuclear reactor-powered spacecraft capable of moving other satellites orbiting near the moon, DARPA and NASA officials said.

DARPA in 2021 awarded funds to General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin to study designs of nuclear reactors and spacecraft. By around March, the agency will pick a company to build the nuclear spacecraft for the 2027 demonstration, the program’s manager Tabitha Dodson said in an interview.

The joint NASA-DARPA effort’s budget is US$110 million for fiscal year 2023 and is expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars more through 2027.

Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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