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Researchers find 3 earth-sized planets which could bolster life

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LONDON — A group of researchers from the University of Cambridge on Monday said that they had found three Earth-like planets that are the best wager so far for discovering life outside solar system.

The planets orbit a dim and cool star 40 light years from Earth which could be the best place to start searching for extra-terrestrial life, according the researchers.

Researchers used a telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile, to see the star known as TRAPPIST-1, which is in the Aquarius group of stars, Xinhua reported.

TRAPPIST-1 is an ultra-cool dwarf star and as such is much cooler and redder than the Sun and is barely larger than Jupiter.

They found that this dim and cool star faded slightly at regular intervals, indicating that several objects were transiting or passing between the star and the Earth. Detailed analysis showed that there were three planets of a similar size with the Earth.
“The discovery of a planetary system around such a small star opens up a brand new avenue for research,” Professor Didier Queloz from the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory said.

Such stars are very common in the Milky Way and very long-lived but this is the first time that planets have been found around one of them.

Despite being just 40 light years from the Earth, this star is too dim and too red to be seen with the naked eye or even with a large amateur telescope.

“Before this discovery it was not at all clear whether such a small star could host an Earth-sized planet. Nobody had seriously studied it, but now that’s likely to change,” said Professor Queloz.

“Systems around these tiny stars are the only places where we can detect life on an Earth-sized exoplanet with our current technology,” said Michael Gillon, from the University of Liege in Belgium, who co-authored a paper on the new discovery with Professor Queloz.

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NAC aims to bring more tourists

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.

The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.

The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.

The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.

For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.

With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.

After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.

South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.

Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.

“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.

Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.

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