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Astronomers observe an Earth-like Extra-solar Planet that could Harbor Extra-Terrestrial Life

K2-3d is an extra-solar planet about 150 light-years away that was discovered by the NASA K2 mission

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Tokyo, November 29, 2016: In an important step towards the search for extra-terrestrial life, astronomers in Japan have observed the transit of a potentially habitable Earth-like extra-solar planet known as K2-3d.

A transit is a phenomenon in which a planet passes in front of its parent star, blocking a small amount of light from the star, like a shadow of the planet.

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While transits have previously been observed for thousands of other extra-solar planets, K2-3d is important because there is a possibility that it might harbour extra-terrestrial life, the researchers said.

The group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and University of Tokyo, among others, observed the transit using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.

K2-3d is an extra-solar planet about 150 light-years away that was discovered by the NASA K2 mission (the Kepler telescope’s “second light”).

About 30 potentially habitable planets that also have transiting orbits were discovered by the NASA Kepler mission, but most of these planets orbit fainter, more distant stars.

Because it is closer to Earth and its host star is brighter, K2-3d is a more interesting candidate for detailed follow-up studies, the researchers said.

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By observing its transit precisely using the next generation of telescopes, such as Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the scientists expect to be able to search the atmosphere of the planet for molecules related to life, such as oxygen.

The study, published in The Astronomical Journal, also succeeded in measuring the orbital period of the planet with a high precision of about 18 seconds.

This greatly improved the forecast accuracy for future transit times. So now researchers will know exactly when to watch for the transits using the next generation of telescopes.

K2-3d’s size is 1.5 times the size of the Earth. The planet orbits its host star, which is half the size of the Sun, with a period of about 45 days.

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Compared to the Earth, the planet orbits close to its host star (about one-fifth of the Earth-Sun distance).

But, because the temperature of the host star is lower than that of the Sun, calculations showed that this is the right distance for the planet to have a relatively warm climate like that of the Earth’s. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons
Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?