5G looks like it’s the next best thing in tech, but it’s really a Trojan horse for harming humanity


Image: 5G looks like it’s the next best thing in tech, but it’s really a Trojan horse for harming humanity

Many so-called “experts” are claiming that it’ll be a huge step forward for innovation in everything from manufacturing and transportation, to medicine and beyond. But in reality, 5G technology represents an existential threat to humanity – a “phony war” on the people who inhabit this planet we call Earth, and all in the name of “progress.”

Writing for GreenMedInfo, Claire Edwards, a former editor and trainer in intercultural writing for the United Nations (U.N.), warns that 5G might end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of the state of public health. Electro-hypersensitivity (EHS), she says, could soon become a global pandemic as a result of 5G implementation, with people developing severe health symptoms that inhibit their ability to live normal lives.

This “advanced” technology, Edwards warns, involves the use of special “laser-like beams of electromagnetic radiation,” or EMR, that are basically blasted “from banks of thousands of tiny antennas” installed all over the place, typically on towers and poles located within just a couple hundred feet of one another.

While she still worked for the U.N., Edwards tried to warn her superiors about the dangers of 5G EMR, only to have these petitions fall on deaf ears. This prompted her to contact the U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who then pushed the World Health Organization (WHO) to take a closer look into the matter – though this ended up being a dead end as well.

For more news about 5G and its threat to humanity, be sure to check out Conspiracy.news.

The power of the elements: Discover Colloidal Silver Mouthwash with quality, natural ingredients like Sangre de Drago sap, black walnut hulls, menthol crystals and more. Zero artificial sweeteners, colors or alcohol. Learn more at the Health Ranger Store and help support this news site.

Elon Musk is planning to launch 4,425 5G satellites in to Earth’s orbit THIS JUNE

Edwards worries particularly about 5G implementation in space, as existing space law is so woefully inadequate that countries all around the world, including the U.S., will likely blanket the atmosphere in 5G equipment, turning our entire planet into an EMR hell.

Elon Musk of Tesla fame is one such purveyor of 5G technology who’s planning to launch an astounding 4,425 5G satellites in to Earth’s orbit by June 2019. This means that, in a matter of just a few months, 5G will be everywhere and completely inescapable.

“There are no legal limits on exposure to EMR,” Edwards writes.

“Conveniently for the telecommunications industry, there are only non-legally enforceable guidelines such as those produced by the grandly named International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which turns out to be like the Wizard of Oz, just a tiny little NGO in Germany that appoints its own members, none of whom is a medical doctor or environmental expert.”

Edwards sees 5G implementation as eventually leading to a “catastrophe for all life in Earth” in the form of “the last great extinction.” She likens it to a “biological experiment” representing the “most heinous manifestation of hubris and greed in human history.”

There’s already evidence to suggest that 5G implementation in a few select cities across the United States, including in Sacramento, California, is causing health problems for people who live near 5G equipment. At firehouses where 5G equipment was installed, for instance, firefighters are reporting things like memory problems and confusion.

Some people are also reporting reproductive issues like miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as nosebleeds and insomnia, all stemming from the presence of 5G transmitters.

Edwards encourages folks to sign The Stop 5G Appeal if they care about protecting people, animals, insects, and the planet from this impending 5G assault.

“Our newspapers are now casually popularizing the meme that human extinction would be a good thing, but when the question becomes not rhetorical but real, when it’s your life, your child, your community, your environment that is under immediate threat, can you really subscribe to such a suggestion?” Edwards asks.

Advertisements

New NASA Image Shows How Unbelievably Lonely And Special Earth Is


Earth is a remarkable planet for many reasons. It hosts volcanoes, cats, pizza, and all other sorts of natural wonders. Sadly, it also harbors humans, which is actually pretty unfortunate, but significant in the sense that we’re found literally nowhere else. Therefore, in a lot of ways, Earth is a very lovable, lonely weirdo — except for its one friend, the moon.

 

A new image from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft — which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security — Regolith Explorer — shows this cosmic friendship in stunning detail. According to NASA, this composite image of the two buddies was created from data “captured by OSIRIS-REx’s MapCam instrument on October 2, 2017,” but the final product wasn’t released until Tuesday.

Image: NASA/OSIRIS-REx team and the University of Arizona

Three different images were combined and color-corrected to create this spectacular image. It required a bit of nipping and tucking, naturally — the moon had to be brightened since it was showing up a little faint. Even with the effects, the moon barely makes an appearance in this photo.

But what’s remarkable about this image is that it makes the Earth and moon appear much closer than they are. They’re actually 238,855 miles (384,400 km) apart.

When the images in this composite were taken, OSIRIS-REx was about 3 million miles (5 million kilometers) away from Earth, which translates to “13 times the distance between the Earth and moon,” according to NASA.

Of course, OSIRIS-REx’s day job isn’t exactly taking Instagram shots of Earth and the moon. It’s an asteroid hunter on its way to link up with an object called Bennu, which it will reach in August 2018. Until it gets there, we look forward to more photos like these — ones that remind us of our infinite loneliness in the grandeur of the cosmos.

Thousands of Worlds Could Lurk Beyond Pluto – This New Animation Shows Them AlI


Welcome to our cosmic neighbourhood.

 You may be familiar with our Solar System’s eight planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There’s also their famous dwarf-planet companion, Pluto.

But this icy world may just be an appetiser to what lurks beyond in a region called the Kuiper Belt.

 

As this stunning animation suggests, dwarf planets may outnumber regular planets 100- or even 1,000-fold.

However, if a small group of astronomers gets its way, most of these worlds may become fully fledged planets and drop the “dwarf” label.

Where the animation comes from

We first saw the animation in a Reddit post by user Nobilitie. It’s actually a recording of a physics-based simulator game called Universe Sandbox2, according to Dan Dixon, the creator and director of the software.

Each ring represents an object’s orbit, and the mess of rings beyond the inner eight rings all belong to dwarf planets.

In response to the Reddit post, Dixon said the orbits are based on a constantly updated list of candidate worlds maintained by Mike Brown, an astronomer at Caltech.

 “[I]t’s a nice illustration of what is out there!” Brown wrote in an email to Business Insider. “The striking difference between the orderly giant planets and the randomness of the dwarf planets is quite apparent.”

Brown is the person who discovered Eris, a 10th solar system object that’s about 27 percent more massive than Pluto.

artist impression of the dwarf planet Eris

Artist impression of Eris, ESO/L. Calçada and Nick Risinger

His find eventually ‘killed‘ Pluto as a bonafide planet in 2006. That’s when thousands of astronomers voted on new celestial terminology, categorising the world as a “dwarf planet” alongside Eris.

Some astronomers disagreed with the decision, with one going so far as to call it “bullsh-t”. The public also didn’t take it well: Brown has since received a torrent of hate mail from schoolchildren.

Definitions aside, the list kept by Brown sorts objects detected in deep space based on the likelihood of their existence. Larger, inner objects tend to be more certain while farther-out objects are less certain.

Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, and five others meet Brown’s “near certainty” criteria – in other words, they’re definitely dwarf planets and not comets or some other astronomical object. Thirty are “highly likely” to be dwarf planets, 75 are “likely,” and nearly 850 other objects are “probably” or “possibly” dwarf planets.

Brown guessed that about half of the dwarf planet candidates have yet to be detected, bringing their numbers close to 2,000 or more.

Redefining “planet” again?

Pluto's orbit and Kuiper's belt objects

Even Brown’s best estimate may be low, though. In the illustration above, Pluto’s orbit is shown in yellow, and the dots beyond it are Kuiper Belt objects.

“[A]s you can see from the illustration, some of them are on exceedingly elliptical orbits. Those guys are going to spend most of their time at the outer edge of their orbit, so they’re hard to see,” Brown said. “There might be a factor of ~5 more of those objects that we don’t know about!”

Brown doesn’t think nuclear-powered spacecraft like New Horizons, which can last for decades and is now exploring the Kuiper Belt, will discover most of those missing worlds.

“The fact that there are so many of these things out there really shows that the future of their exploration is going to mostly rely on telescopes,” he said.

A twist in all of this is that astronomers are once again wondering what to call floating orbs of rock, metal, and ice in space, according to a poster that seven researchers are presenting this week at the 48th Lunar & Planetary Science Conference.

Instead of categorising worlds as planets, dwarf planets, and moons – terms based on their orbits around the sun and one other – the team wants to simplify the system: As long as an object is big enough to be mostly round and isn’t fusing hot gases (like the Sun), it should be deemed a planet.

If enough astronomers agree with them, the solar system might suddenly contain 110 official planets – and perhaps hundreds or even thousands more if Brown’s list pans out.

‘Earth is a planet in upheaval’: World Meteorological Organization issues dire climate warning


“Truly uncharted territory”

2016’s record-warming continues in 2017 with Jan-Feb 2017 the second hottest on record after 2016. 

Humanity is “now in truly uncharted territory,” thanks to CO2-driven climate change, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warnedTuesday.

The WMO’s annual “State of the Global Climate in 2016” paints a dire picture for humanity: record CO2 levels, record warming, record drop in both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, and record high sea levels. Severe droughts “brought food insecurity to millions in southern and eastern Africa and Central America.”

NOAA reported this month that the record-smashing warming of 2016 continued into 2017. In this country, “there were 11,743 daily warm temperature records broken or tied” in February alone. Globally, it was the second hottest February and January-February on record after 2016.

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” as University of Arizona glaciologist Jeffrey Kargel explainedto the UK Guardian. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilization, which thrives on stability.”

Climatologist Sir Robert Watson slammed the “Trump administration and senior Republicans in Congress [who] continue to bury their heads in the sand.” The former head of the UN’s climate science panel said our children and grandchildren will some day marvel at such deniers “and ask how they could have sacrificed the planet for the sake of cheap fossil fuel energy, when the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of a transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Source:thinkprogress.org

Earth is actually two planets, scientists conclude.


The early Earth was mixed with a baby planet called Theia following a head on collision 4.5 billion years ago, scientists have found.

Today's Earth is made up of early Earth and the embryonic planet Theia

Today’s Earth is made up of early Earth and the embryonic planet Theia

Earth is actually made up from two planets which came together in a head-on collision that was so violent it formed the Moon, scientists have concluded.

Initially it was believed that the Moon was created when a smaller planet called Theia grazed the Earth and broke up, sending a smaller chunk into space where it was caught in Earth’s gravity.

But if that was the case the Moon would have a different chemical composition to the Earth, because it would be made up, predominantly, of Theia.

William K. Hartmann painted this rendering of the first moments of impact

However, after studying Moon rocks brought back by astronauts on the Apollo missions, scientists at the University of California have found that their oxygen isotopes are the same as on Earth.

It means that the collision between Their and the early Earth was so violent that the two planets effectively melded together to form a new planet, a chunk of which was knocked off to form the Moon.

“We don’t see any difference between the Earth’s and the Moon’s oxygen isotopes; they’re indistinguishable,” said Edward Young, lead author of the new study and a UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry.

 “Theia was thoroughly mixed into both the Earth and the Moon, and evenly dispersed between them.

“This explains why we don’t see a different signature of Theia in the Moon versus the Earth.”

Professor Edward Young

The crash with Theia happened approximately 100 million years after the Earth formed, almost 4.5 billion years ago.

 It was thought Theia had collided with Earth at an angle of 45 degrees or more, described by the report authors as a ‘powerful side-swipe’

The researchers analysed seven rocks brought to the Earth from the Moon by the Apollo 12, 15 and 17 missions, as well as six volcanic rocks from the Earth’s mantle — five from Hawaii and one from Arizona.

The key to reconstructing the giant impact was a chemical signature revealed in the rocks’ oxygen atoms. More than 99.9 percent of Earth’s oxygen is O-16, so called because each atom contains eight protons and eight neutrons.

But there also are small quantities of heavier oxygen isotopes: O-17, which have one extra neutron, and O-18, which have two extra neutrons.

In 2014, a team of German scientists reported in Science that the Moon also has its own unique ratio of oxygen isotopes, different from Earth’s. The new research finds that is not the case.

Lunar rock from Apollo 17, credit, Paul Warren

Lunar rock from Apollo 17, credit, Paul Warren

Prof Young’s research team used state-of-the-art technology and techniques to make extraordinarily precise and careful measurements, and verified them with UCLA’s new mass spectrometer.

Theia, which did not survive the collision – except that it now makes up large parts of Earth and the Moon – was growing and probably would have become a planet if the crash had not occurred, added Prof Young.

Prof Young and some other scientists believe the planet was approximately the same size as the Earth; although believe it was smaller, perhaps more similar in size to Mars.

A head-on collision was initially proposed in 2012 by Matija Cuk, now a research scientist with the SETI Institute, and Sarah Stewart, now a professor at UC Davis; and, separately during the same year by Robin Canup of the Southwest Research Institute.

New Theory on Origin of Life on Earth Questions ‘RNA World’ Hypothesis


DNA com GGN

A new study from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has offered a surprising twist of how life began on earth, questioning the likeability of the “RNA World” Hypothesis and proposing that DNA may have also existed when life began.
A new study from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has offered a surprising twist of how life began on earth, questioning the likeability of the “RNA World” Hypothesis and proposing that DNA may have also existed when life began.

According to the study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, scientists from TSRI said that the RNA World Hypothesis, which states that proteins and DNA originated from RNA molecules, could not be entirely true. They suggested that something could have existed along RNA to help it evolve.

“Why not think of RNA and DNA rising together, rather than trying to convert RNA to DNA by means of some fantastic chemistry at a prebiotic stage?” said Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, associate professor of chemistry at TSRI and senior author of the new study, via Science Daily.

To recall, scientists have been studying the RNA World Hypothesis for years. The hypothesis claims that self-replicating RNA, which came from multiple chemical reactions, led to the evolution of proteins and enzymes. These byproducts of RNA mark the birth of life on Earth.

At first, scientists thought that DNA and RNA could have merged together to create “heterogeneous” strands that would result to blended “chimeras.” However, upon testing, the scientists found that the mixed-up RNA and DNA strands are unstable, especially when the two share the same backbone.

Thus, the researchers came up with an alternate theory, saying that instead of creating “chimeras,” RNA and DNA could have evolved at the same time.

This means that apart from RNA, DNA could have also evolved separately in its own homogeneous system. The theory of RNA producing DNA, according to the researchers, could still be possible but it could have occurred after RNA met DNA.

Watch the vido discussion. URL:https://youtu.be/K1xnYFCZ9Yg

FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT WARNS OF ALIEN ATTACKS ‘EARTH MAY NOT HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD’


5.2K Former NASA astronauts have revealed that there is alien life all over our universe which he confirms via the discovery of the exoplanet Proxima B, where scientists speculate life may have existed. An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star rather than suns!

The former astronaut does not agree with these scientific experts that aliens will allow themselves to be discovered by our current scientific methods. Leroy spent 230 days in space and held the view that alien lifeforms would not lead to a good situation for the Earth if they are discovered whether intentionally or not. ARE YOU READY FOR DISCLOSURE? In a column at space. Com, Chiao said: ‘The possibility of extraterrestrial life has fascinated humans since our awareness that such a thing could exist, and with the recent discovery of a possibly Earth-like planet around a star in our cosmic backyard, tantalizing new questions are being raised about the possibility of finding life elsewhere in the universe.’ Most astronauts do not spend over 100 days in space, but as Chiao spent so long in space, his opinion holds weight

In fact, he was one of the commanders of the International Space Station and while there, he completed four missions in space and had the opportunity to perform space walks. Over six space walks during an impressive 15-year career. On the surface, the exoplanet Proxima B may appear similar to the Earth; it also is entirely different according to Chiao. He states that the planet’s orbital period is only 11 days, and it does not rotate on its axis but has a radiation environment that is higher than the planet earth. Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in 2014, told the US Congress that at least half a dozen worlds exist beside earth in our solar system. Chiao is one of the few people on Earth who had the privilege of going to space and living in space for an extended period of time. The former astronaut was one of the commanders of the International Space Station and complete four mission in space and had the opportunity to perform SIX spacewalks during his 15-year-long career at NASA.

Interestingly, Chiao believes that the discovery of exoplanet Proxima B, in the Proxima Centauri system may be one step closer towards finding out we are not alone in the universe. Proxima B has been dubbed by many as the second Earth. The exoplanet is located just at the right distance from its star in order to have liquid water which in turn means it could also be home to alien lifeforms. ‘Measurements indicate that Proxima b is a rocky planet, just slightly larger than Earth, orbiting the star at the right distance to be able to support liquid water on its surface, and thus perhaps life,’ wrote Chiao in the article. While Proxima B may be remarkably similar to Earth, it also is entirely different explains Chiao. In the article, Chiao indicates that ‘the planet’s orbital period is only 11 days, and it does not rotate on its own axis. Also, the radiation environment is estimated to be much harsher than that for Earth. Still, scientists say some kind of life count exists there.’

Writing about Alien life, Chiao states: ‘I believe that life is always starting in some parts of the universe at the same time that it is dying out in others,’ he shares. We don’t know about each other, simply because the distances are so vast. We won’t easily find evidence of alien life around another star, especially those that are hundreds of millions of light-years away, or more.’ However, Chiao isn’t the only one who thinks we arent alone out there. In 2014 as scientists met with Congress, Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the California-based Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute told the U.S. said that “At least a half-dozen other worlds (besides Earth) that might have life are in our solar system.” “The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, it’ll happen in the next 20 years, depending on the financing, added Shostak.”

This is what Earth will look like in 100 years


At this point, you’re probably fully aware of how hot it is. But in case you’re unaware: It’s really, really hot.

In fact, 2016 is likely to be the hottest year on record, increasing 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial averages.

That brings us dangerously close to the 2.7-degree-Fahrenheit (1.5-degree-Celsius) limit set by international policymakers for global warming.

“There’s no stopping global warming,” Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, told Business Insider. “Everything that’s happened so far is baked into the system.”

That means that even if carbon emissions dropped to zero tomorrow, we’d still be watching human-driven climate change play out for centuries. And, as we all know, emissions aren’t going to stop tomorrow. So the key thing now, Schmidt said, is slowing climate change down enough to make sure we can adapt to it as painlessly as possible.

This is what Earth could look like within 100 years if we do, barring huge leaps in renewable energy or carbon-capture technology.

“I think the 1.5-degree [2.7-degree F] target is out of reach as a long-term goal,” Schmidt said. He estimated that we will blow past that by about 2030.

Climate1

But Schmidt is more optimistic about staying at or under 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above preindustrial levels – the level of temperature rise the UN hopes to avoid.

Climate2

Let’s assume we land between those two targets. At the end of this century, we’re already looking at a world that is on average 3 degrees or so Fahrenheit above where we are now.

Climate3

But average surface temperature alone doesn’t fully capture climate change. Temperature anomalies – or how much the temperature of a given area is deviating from what would be ‘normal’ in that region – will swing wildly.

Climate4

For example, the temperature in the Arctic Circle last winter soared above freezing for one day. It was still cold for Florida, but it was extraordinarily hot for the arctic. That’s abnormal, and it will start happening a lot more.

Climate5

That means years like this one, which had the lowest sea-ice extent on record, will become common. Summers in Greenland could become ice-free by 2050.

Climate6

Source: Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

Even 2015 was nothing compared with 2012, when 97 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface started to melt in the summer. It’s typically a once-in-a-century occurrence, but we could see this kind of extreme surface melt every six years by end of the century.

Climate7

On the bright side, ice in Antarctica will remain relatively stable, making minimal contributions to sea-level rise.

Climate8Andreas

But in our best-case scenarios, oceans are on track to rise 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 metres) by 2100. Even a sea-level rise below 3 feet (0.9 metres) could displace up to 4 million people.

Climate9

Oceans not only will have less ice at the poles, but they will also continue to acidify in the tropics. Oceans absorb about a third of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing them to warm and become more acidic.

Climate10

If climate change continues unabated, nearly all coral reef habitats could be devastated. Under our best-case scenario, half of all tropical coral reefs are still threatened.

Climate11

But the oceans aren’t the only place heating up. Even if we curb emissions, summers in the tropics could increase their extreme-heat days by half after 2050. Farther north, 10 percent to 20 percent of the days in a year will be hotter.

Climate12

But compare that with the business-as-usual scenario, in which the tropics will stay at unusually hot temperatures all summer long. In the temperate zones, 30 percent or more of the days will be what is now unusual.

Climate13

Even a little bit of warming will strain water resources. In a 2013 paper, scientists used models to estimate that the world could see more severe droughts more frequently – about a 10 percent increase. If unchecked, climate change could cause severe drought across 40 percent of all land, double what it is today.

Climate14

And then there’s the weather. If the extreme El Niño event of 2015 to 2016 was any indication, we’re in for much more dramatic natural disasters. More extreme storm surges, wildfires, and heat waves are on the menu for 2070 and beyond.

Climate15

Right now, humanity is standing on a precipice. We can ignore the warning signs and pollute ourselves into what Schmidt envisions as a “vastly different planet” – roughly as different as our current climate is from the most recent ice age.

Climate16

Or we can innovate solutions. Many of the scenarios laid out here assume we’re reaching negative emissions by 2100 – that is, absorbing more than we’re emitting through carbon-capture technology.

Climate17

Schmidt says we are likely to reach 2100 with a planet somewhere between “a little bit warmer than today and a lot warmer than today”.

Climate18

But the difference between ‘a little’ and ‘a lot’ on the scale of Earth is one of millions of lives saved, or not.

Climate19

Earth to act as the ultimate telescope to take photos of black holes


Can MIT’s latest project give us a unique glimpse into black holes?

mit-black-hole.jpg
M.Weiss/NASA/CXC

MIT and Harvard University have launched a new project which hopes to gather all of the telescope data Earth collects to create a true image of a black hole.

On Monday, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed that a new algorithm could be used to produce the first images of a black hole, a region of space where the gravity is so strong even light cannot escape — and therefore we cannot see them.

Together with Harvard University, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are developing a way to stitch together information from all of the radio telescopes operating on Earth. With this knowledge, the scientists will be using Earth as “one large radio dish,” which will provide the power and detail required to construct a black hole, which is by design very far away from our system.

The closest black holes to us are several thousand light-years away.

MIT and Harvard’s “Event Horizon Telescope” project and the new algorithm will push space studies further than today’s telescopes alone can manage. Due to their long wavelengths, radio waves require large antenna dishes — and while the largest on earth has a diameter of 1,000 feet, it still cannot beat an ordinary backyard telescope when it comes to taking images of objects, such as the moon.

MIT estimates that in order to take a clear image of a black hole, we would otherwise need a radio telescope with a diameter of 10,000km — which in itself is not possible, considering the diameter of the earth does not even reach 13,000 kilometers.

“Radio wavelengths come with a lot of advantages,” says Katie Bouman, leader the development of the new algorithm. “Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there’s too much stuff in between.”

The project will coordinate measurements and images taken by scientists and telescopes at different spots around the world, with six observatories already signed up and more to follow.

However, the telescopes will likely leave large gaps in data as they take their places in approximating a 10,000km antenna — and that is where the algorithm comes in.

The algorithm, dubbed CHIRP, uses a technique called “interferometry” which combines signals detected by telescopes — but is able to use additional measurements and equations to cancel out noise, resulting in more detailed and accurate imagery .

The algorithm will be presented at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in June.

Just 40 light years from Earth, three planets might host life forms adapted to infrared worlds


Three potentially habitable worlds found around nearby ultracool dwarf star
This artist’s impression shows an imagined view from the surface one of the three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star.In this view one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.

Is there life beyond our solar system? If there is, our best bet for finding it may lie in three nearby, Earth-like exoplanets.

For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years from Earth. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are comparable to those of Earth and Venus, and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system. The results are published today in the journal Nature.

The scientists discovered the planets using TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), a 60-centimeter telescope operated by the University of Liège, based in Chile. TRAPPIST is designed to focus on 60 nearby dwarf stars—very small, cool stars that are so faint they are invisible to optical telescopes. Belgian scientists designed TRAPPIST to monitor dwarf stars at infrared wavelengths and search for planets around them.

The team focused the telescope on the ultracool dwarf star, 2MASS J23062928-0502285, now known as TRAPPIST-1, a Jupiter-sized star that is one-eighth the size of our sun and significantly cooler. Over several months starting in September 2015, the scientists observed the star’s infrared signal fade slightly at regular intervals, suggesting that several objects were passing in front of the star.

With further observations, the team confirmed the objects were indeed planets, with similar sizes to Earth and Venus. The two innermost planets orbit the star in 1.5 and 2.4 days, though they receive only four and two times the amount of radiation, respectively, as the Earth receives from the sun. The third planet may orbit the star in anywhere from four to 73 days, and may receive even less radiation than Earth. Given their size and proximity to their ultracool star, all three planets may have regions with temperatures well below 400 kelvins, within a range that is suitable for sustaining liquid water and life.

Because the system is just 40 light years from Earth, co-author Julien de Wit, a postdoc in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, says scientists will soon be able to study the planets’ atmospheric compositions, as well as assess their habitability and whether life actually exists within this planetary system.

“These planets are so close, and their star so small, we can study their atmosphere and composition, and further down the road, which is within our generation, assess if they are actually inhabited,” de Wit says. “All of these things are achievable, and within reach now. This is a jackpot for the field.”

A risk, paid off

For the most part, today’s exoplanetary missions have been focused on finding systems around bright, solar-like stars. These stars emit radiation in the visible band—most often at yellow wavelengths—and can be seen with . However, because these stars are so bright, their light can overpower any signal coming from a planet.

Cold dwarf stars, in contrast, are faint stars that emit radiation in the infrared band. Because they are so faint, these tiny red stars would not drown out a planetary signal, giving scientists a better chance of detecting orbiting planets. However, most missions today are not optimized to observe such stars.

“That means they can’t detect planets around such stars,” de Wit points out. “So you have to design a completely different survey using special instruments and detectors—it’s a risk.”

Lead authors Michael Gillon and Emmanuel Jehin, of the University of Liège, took that risk and built TRAPPIST, the proof-of-concept telescope that looks at 60 small, nearby ultracool stars.

“It’s not looking at 100,000 at a time, like the Kepler Space Telescope,” de Wit says. “It’s a few of them that you’re spending time on, one at a time. And one paid off.”

“Worlds shifted in wavelength”

From their observations, the scientists determined that all three planets are likely tidally locked, with permanent day and night sides. The two planets closest to the star may have day sides that are too hot, and night sides too cold, to host any life forms. However, there may be a “sweet spot” on the western side of both planets—a region that still receives daylight, but with relatively cool temperatures—that may be temperate enough to sustain conditions suitable for life. The third planet, furthest from its star, may be entirely within the habitable zone.

As for next steps, de Wit says the objective is clear.

“Now we have to investigate if they’re habitable,” de Wit says. “We will investigate what kind of atmosphere they have, and then will search for biomarkers and signs of life. We have facilities all over the globe and in space that are helping us, working from UV to radio, in all different wavelengths to tell us everything we want to know about this system. So many people will get to play with this [system].”