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Kepler-62f may be a good prospect for a habitable world

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WASHINGTON — A planet, about 1,200 light-years from Earth and in all probabilities has surface liquid water, is a good prospect for a habitable world, reports researchers from University of California, Los Angeles.

Named Kepler-62f, the planet is roughly 40 percent bigger than Earth. “It is within the range of planets that are likely to be rocky and possibly could have oceans,” said Aomawa Shields, lead author and a astrophysics postdoctoral fellow.

NASA’s Kepler mission discovered the planetary system that includes Kepler-62f in 2013 and identified it as the outermost of five planets orbiting a star that is smaller and cooler than the Sun. “We found there are multiple atmospheric compositions that allow it to be warm enough to have surface liquid water. This makes it a strong candidate for a habitable planet,” added Shields.

On Earth, carbon dioxide makes up 0.04 per cent of the atmosphere. Because Kepler-62f is much farther away from its star than Earth is from the Sun, it would need more carbon dioxide to be warm enough to maintain liquid water on its surface, and to keep from freezing.

The team ran computer simulations and found many scenarios that allow it to be habitable, assuming different amounts of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere.

Shields said that for the planet to be consistently habitable throughout its entire year, it would require an atmosphere that is three to five times thicker than Earth’s and composed entirely of carbon dioxide. The research was published online in the journal Astrobiology.

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Boston Dynamics’ robot can open up doors and hold for others to enter

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Secretive robotics firm Boston Dynamics has posted a new video to its YouTube channe on Monday showing off its SpotMini robo-canine, in which he can be seen opening a door all on his own and hold until another enters the door.

In the 45-second video, titled ‘Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand?’ a SpotMini walks over to a door before realizing it can’t get through.

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Another SpotMini quickly comes to his rescue and extends his clawed arm, which he uses to grab the door handle.

The robot then grabs the handle, turns it, and pulls back the door. Using one of its front legs, the robot manages to hold open the door as the claw releases the handle and pens the door fully.

The SpotMini is seen holding open the door as his fellow robo-dog friend then casually walks through the door.

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