dailyO
News

Science Wrap: James Webb discovers Earth-like planet, US and Russia join hands for space rescue mission

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaJan 14, 2023 | 08:00

Science Wrap: James Webb discovers Earth-like planet, US and Russia join hands for space rescue mission

This week in science saw the discovery of a new exoplanet even as our own planet keeps on getting hotter (photo-DailyO)

This week in science saw some new updates regarding the trapped astronauts in outer space (that we have been covering in our previous science wraps), while astronomers have chanced across some notable discoveries such as an exoplanet and a distant group of 'blinking stars'. Back on Earth, gloomy times persist as last year turned out to be the 5th hottest year of all time. 

1. Russia and US to undertake joint rescue mission for Soyuz astronauts

As has been the news from December 2022, Russia’s Soyuz M-22 space capsule currently houses three astronauts who are trapped following a leak in the coolant line. Earlier, Russian space agency Roscomos had been considering sending another Soyuz capsule to rescue the two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut. NASA had also held discussions with SpaceX for the same. Now, it seems that despite its growing diplomatic tensions owing to the Russia-Ukraine War, the two countries are joining forces to devise a proper rescue plan. 

"The Soyuz MS-22 will be replaced by the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft that will launch to the space station [the nearby International Space Station] without a crew," NASA said in a blog update. The spacecraft will fly to the Space Station on February 20 to rescue the three astronauts with help from Roscosmos. 

2. Most distant stars in Milky Way detected

Right on the outer regions of the Milky Way’s star-studded halo, 200 distant variable stars termed as the RR Lyrae have been identified by astronomers. These are particularly old stars with physical characteristics that find them expanding and contracting in regular cycles. Astronomers could identify the stars from these pulsations, using the brightness levels to calculate its distance from Earth. 

The new discovery was presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, with researchers calling the RR Lyrae perfect “standard candles” for measuring galactic distances.

3. 2022 termed the 5th hottest year of all time 

The world's temperature continued to rise in 2022, which matched with 2015 as the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The most recent assessment was made public by NASA based on satellite measurements of the planet, which is experiencing extreme weather as a result of climate change.

Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere last year reached levels not experienced on earth for 3 million years. (Photo: AP)
Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere last year reached levels not experienced on earth for 3 million years. (Photo: AP)

The average temperature for the reference period 1951–1980 was 0.89 degrees Celsius higher than it was in 2022. According to NASA, 2015 and 2016 were tied for fifth-warmest years since records have been kept, which began in 1880. That happened in spite of the Pacific Ocean's La Nina weather phenomenon, which typically causes a modest drop in global temperatures.

4. James Webb discovers new Earth-like exoplanet 

The James Webb Telescope has turned planet hunter after spending more than a year in the vacuum of space, almost 15,00,000 kilometres from Earth. The first planet discovered outside of our solar system has been verified by the most potent observatory in the world.

The planet is almost exactly the same size as our own, clocking in at 99% of Earth's diameter. Photo: dailyO/NASA
The planet is almost exactly the same size as our own, clocking in at 99% of Earth's diameter. Photo: NASA

The planet, which was originally known as LHS 475 b, has a diameter that is 99 percent that of Earth and is almost exactly the same size as our own. After being discovered in NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) observation data, Webb decided to observe the candidate.

Last updated: January 14, 2023 | 08:00
IN THIS STORY
    Please log in
    I agree with DailyO's privacy policy