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FILE - Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 14, 2010. VOA

Just three days into his internship, little did 17-year-old Wolf Cukier realise that he is going to make history — in helping NASA discover its first Earth-size planet resting in its star’s habitable-zone — the way our Earth rests in its Goldilocks zone.

In 2019, when Cukier finished his junior year at Scarsdale High School in New York, he joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a summer intern.


His job was to examine variations in star brightness captured by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and uploaded to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project.

“I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit,” Cukier said.

“About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338. At first I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet,” he said in a NASA statement.

NASA last week announced that its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) found a planet in a habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface.

“I noticed a dip, or a transit, from the TOI 1338 system, and that was the first signal of a planet,” Cukier told NBC 4 New York.


FILE – The planet Jupiter is shown with one of its moons, Ganymede (bottom), in this NASA handout photo, April 9, 2007. (Representational image). VOA

According to NASA, TOI 1338 b is 6.9 times larger than Earth and is located about 1,300 light-years away from Earth.

The planet orbits in almost exactly the same plane as the stars, so it experiences regular stellar eclipses.

A paper, which Cukier co-authored along with scientists from Goddard, San Diego State University, the University of Chicago and other institutions, has been submitted to a scientific journal.

Also Read: Samsung’s New Compliance Committee to be Independent

Meanwhile, Cukier is now planning about his future in college.

“My top three choices are Princeton, MIT and Stanford,” he told News 12. (IANS)


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On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

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Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

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