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James Webb Space Telescope confirms its first exoplanet

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James Webb Space Telescope confirms its first exoplanet
GLOBALTIMESPAKISTAN

The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered its first exoplanet — a planet orbiting another star outside our solar system. Scientists say it is roughly the same size as Earth.

The rocky exoplanet could be seen easily and clearly with just two transit observations, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., announced Wednesday at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

“There is no question that the planet is there. Webb s pristine data validate it,” said Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “With this telescope, rocky exoplanets are the new frontier.”

The exoplanet, which has been labeled LHS 475b, measures 99% of the diameter of Earth and is located 41 light-years away in the constellation Octans, according to researchers who reviewed data from NASA s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.

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LHS 475b is closer to its star than any planet in our Solar System, according to scientists. Given the exoplanet s red dwarf star is less than half the temperature of the Sun, researchers believe it could support an atmosphere.

While Webb is the only operating telescope that is capable of detecting atmospheres of Earth-sized exoplanets, more precise measurements are needed for the team to determine whether there is a pure carbon dioxide atmosphere or no atmosphere at all. Researchers expect to gather more data this summer.

“The telescope is so sensitive that it can easily detect a range of molecules, but we can t yet draw any definitive conclusions about the planet s atmosphere,” said Erin May, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

“There are some terrestrial-type atmospheres that we can rule out,” said Lustig-Yaeger. “It can t have a thick methane-dominated atmosphere, similar to that of Saturn s moon Titan.”

“Counterintuitively, a 100% carbon dioxide atmosphere is much more compact that it becomes very challenging to detect,” Lustig-Yaeger added.

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Despite the additional research needed, scientists said Webb has already revealed that LHS 475b is a few hundred degrees warmer than Earth and that it completes its orbit in just two days.

Since launching into space in December of 2021, Webb has been beaming back clear and stunning images of the universe.

In November, the $10 billion telescope captured images of two of the farthest galaxies seen to date, located several billion light years behind the giant galaxy cluster Abell 2744, and captured images of a new star forming.

For LHS 475b, it is Webb s first sight of an exoplanet.

“These first observational results from an Earth-sized, rocky planet open the door to many future possibilities for studying rocky planet atmospheres with Webb,” said Mark Clampin, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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“Webb is bringing us closer and closer to a new understanding of Earth-like worlds outside the Solar System, and the mission is only just getting started.”

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China launches Shenzhou-16 mission to Chinese space station

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China launches Shenzhou-16 mission to Chinese space station

 China sent three astronauts to its now fully operational space station as part of crew rotation on Tuesday in the fifth manned mission to the Chinese space outpost since 2021, state media reported.

The spacecraft, Shenzhou-16, or “Divine Vessel”, and its three passengers lifted off atop a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in northwest China at 9:31 a.m. (0131 GMT).

The astronauts on Shenzhou-16 will replace the three-member crew of the Shenzhou-15, who arrived at the space station late in November.

The station, comprising three modules, was completed at the end of last year after 11 crewed and uncrewed missions since April 2021, beginning with the launch of the first and biggest module – the station’s main living quarters.

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China has already announced plans to expand its permanently inhabited space outpost, with the next module slated to dock with the current T-shaped space station to create a cross-shaped structure.

Leading the Shenzhou-16 mission was Jing Haipeng, 56, a senior spacecraft pilot from China’s first batch of astronaut trainees in the late 1990s. He had travelled to space three times before, including two trips as mission commander.

Jing flew with Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao, both 36 and part of China’s third batch of astronauts. The mission is Zhu’s and Gui’s first spaceflight.

Former military university professor Zhu will serve as spaceflight engineer while Gui, a professor at Beihang University, will serve as the payload specialist on the mission, managing science experiments at the space station.

Beijing is expected to launch one more crewed mission to the orbiting outpost this year.

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Also by the end of 2023, China is due to a launch space telescope the size of a large bus.

Known as Xuntian, or “Surveying the Heavens” in Chinese, the orbital telescope will boast a field of view 350 times wider than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched 33 years ago.

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WhatsApp rolling out archive feature for businesses on Android

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WhatsApp rolling out archive feature for businesses on Android

 WhatsApp is going to launch a new feature called “status archive” as a new business tool that will help people to share their previous status updates with their customers.

The feature is currently being rolled out to beta testers of WhatsApp Business for Android and will become available to more users in the coming weeks, a media outlet that closely monitors the updates in the messaging app said in its blog.

The users will receive a notification within the Status tab asking them if they want to enable the feature on their WhatsApp accounts.

When this feature is enabled, the status updates will automatically be sent into archives on the users’ device after 24 hours. In addition, people can manage their archive preferences and see it directly from the menu within the Status tab.

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The feature will help businesses to re-share the previous status in an easy way.

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NASA sets coverage for Axiom Mission 2 departure from space station

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NASA sets coverage for Axiom Mission 2 departure from space station

NASA will provide live coverage of the undocking and departure of Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) private astronaut mission from the International Space Station before crew returns to Earth.

The four-member multinational astronaut crew is scheduled to undock no earlier than 11:05 a.m. EDT Tuesday, May 30, from the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to begin the journey home and splashdown off the coast of Florida.

NASA will begin live coverage of space station joint operations with Axiom Space and SpaceX, starting with hatch closure preparations at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Mission teams will monitor weather at the possible splashdown sites prior to undocking to ensure conditions are acceptable for a safe recovery of the spacecraft and Ax-2 astronauts.

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Ax-2 Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, both representing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will complete approximately nine days in space at the conclusion of their mission. Their SpaceX Dragon will return to Earth with more than 300 pounds of cargo, including NASA hardware and data from over 20 different experiments.

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