Category Archives: Science

Opportunity, NASA’s Mars Rover, Has Died

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that NASA was running out of options in their efforts to reboot the Mars rover known as Opportunity after a dust storm blocked off the rover’s solar panels. Sadly, on Wednesday, Opportunity died after 14 years of hard work and the mission was declared complete.

The rover, which traveled over 28 miles during its mission, was unable to wake up after being frozen due to the harsh Mars weather. The rover’s last words in June were: “My battery is getting low and it’s getting dark.”

The rover was expected to recover as it has done previously but unfortunately, the rover didn’t wake up. The final resting place of the rover is called Perseverance Valley.

Opportunity’s many accomplishments include outlasting its twin, Spirit, by 8 years, remembering over 800 different commands from scientists, and finding a possible area where water had been on Mars.

Now, Curiosity is the only NASA rover left on the Red Planet until the launch of another rover in 2020 and the future launch of Britain and Russia’s first rover.

It was an opportunity for NASA to learn more when Opportunity was sent to the red planet and oh boy, Oppy did everything imaginable.

RIP to one of the best missions in NASA’s history.

President Trump Has Declared A National Emergency For The Wall

President Donald Trump, since day one of his presidential campaign, has said a wall would be built along the Mexican and U.S. border to stop illegal immigration. Unfortunately, it took declaring a national emergency in front of the Rose Garden.

In front of multiple reporters and press, President Trump declared the national emergency, stating, “the current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency.”

However, President Trump did state in his press conference that even he isn’t sure that this type of national emergency will be allowed in the court of law but this was the only way for him to get funds after the Senate and House passed the spending bill to avoid a government shutdown again. That bill only has $1.5 billion of the $5 billion that the president had originally wanted.

Now, it is expected that Trump will get at least $8 billion in funds if the order stands in the courts. It could also lead to more presidents declaring national emergencies to accomplish their campaign promises, which has both Democrats and Republicans fearful.

The 1,954-mile border which separates Mexico and the United States does have some type of border, but it’s not a wall. Rather, the border is made up of fences with barbed wire and there is even a butterfly sanctuary (featured in another article).

Some people are aware that the wall can present risks to wildlife that are crucial to the areas, but the White House has not presented any evidence that would show otherwise and have not even talked about it.

Even the true cost of an actual wall on the Mexico and U.S. border is estimated to be over $20 billion, but the amount that the president is getting is only worth renovating the areas that have a border.

There’s so much that can be talked about this wall and whether or not it is going to actually happen, but it’s going to be an interesting next few years in the court system.

Butterfly Sanctuary To Be Protected By Spending Bill

There were worries that a butterfly sanctuary in Texas would be destroyed by a proposed border wall that would have cut the sanctuary in half. The good news is that this will not be happening.

The bipartisan spending bill that was passed by both the House and the Senate on Thursday had language in the bill that will be protecting five different landmarks in the Rio Grande area, including the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

U.S Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas said he was the one to add in the language in the 1,159-page spending package that President Trump signed on Friday, avoiding another shutdown.

The five sites affected over $600 million of the wall’s proposed cost. There were worries that hundreds of different species of butterflies would be affected after a federal court had ruled that they would not be protecting the building.

Now, the building will be one of five sites unaffected by a proposed wall. The other four include the future home of Space X’s commercial spaceport, a Catholic chapel, a bird watching spot that is internationally recognized, and a wildlife refuge.

While this can be classified as “pork barrel spending” to some people, we need areas like the butterfly sanctuary as they are very critical to our food supply and growth.

It’s sad that it had to come to this point where we needed the intervention of a congressman to save the sanctuary, but at least the sanctuary will be there for many more years to come.

Facebook May Hide Pro-Anti Vaccination News Because of False Info

For years now, a battle has been brewing between anti-vaxxers and everyone else. Whether or not, vaccines cause mental disabilities like autism. Now, with a measles outbreak going on in the United States, Facebook has taken steps to limit the outbreak and the anti-vaxxers opinions from being released.

After a rough year of dealing with tons of fake news and being criticized for not being able to control the news, Facebook has stepped up to the plate and decided to control the spread of false news relating to anti-vexxers.

Back in September, the Pew Research Center reported that at least two thirds of Americans get their news on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Starting this year as well, the World Health Organization has declared people deciding not to vaccinate as a world crisis and the CDC has noted the increasing number of children that are not getting vaccinated.

This has resulted in a measles outbreak in Washington state where over 50 kids, mainly those who have not been vaccinated, have gotten measles. It has gotten to the point where the state may force parents to vaccinate their children.

The paper that was published by the disgraced doctor has been debunked multiple times now. Seriously, there’s no reason for anyone not to have a vaccine. We aren’t in the middle ages now, we have the power to stop diseases like polio and measles, and yet this subject remains a debate.

Want To Get Rid Of Bugs? Well, Bug Bombs Aren’t The Way To Go

Some of us, as college students, have dealt with bugs occasionally, especially living in Muse Hall, which may have more rodents and bugs than students at any given time. However, a new study suggests that some ways of killing bugs don’t work.

In a study that occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina and will appear in BMC Public Health, researchers found that bug bombs do not help kill off bugs; even when the residue is left behind for months, it will not kill the bugs.

In the study, when researchers set off bombs in 30 infested houses, the cockroach population did not increase but did not decrease either.

However, research did find that with certain types of bait, the population of roaches dropped in these houses, with one bait decreasing the population by over 75 percent over a month period.

While this may not mean a lot to you as of right now, it may mean a lot to your parents who may have dealt with a roach issue or fruit flies.

Also, another thing to consider is the chemicals in the bug bombs don’t disappear for a while, so the chemicals that aren’t killing the bugs are actually killing you. By that time, the chemicals would had spread to where you prepare your dinner for the night and what not.

It would do you better if you created your own bug bomb that’s natural for your household rather than kill yourself and others for bugs that won’t just die.

 

 

U.S. Withdraws From Nuclear Arms Deal With Russia

President Donald Trump has made questionable decisions throughout his presidency that have had people wondering, “Why would he do that?” Well, this decision may be questioned by many as well.

It was made official on Saturday that the Trump Administration was pulling the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. This action is only the beginning of a six-month formal withdrawal process that will allow both sides time to change their minds if they want to.

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made the official announcement for the U.S. yesterday, citing Russia’s numerous violations of the treaty in the 30 years that it has been in effect.

The end of the treaty is most likely going to result in the production of more nuclear weapons from both sides, which has multiple countries around the world worried about another nuclear arms race between the former Cold War rivals. Continue reading U.S. Withdraws From Nuclear Arms Deal With Russia

NASA is Losing Hope to Revive Opportunity Rover

The clock is ticking for the 15-year-old Mars rover, Opportunity. After six months of attempts, scientists from NASA have failed to revive the rover.

In June of 2018, the rover was unable to avoid a planet-wide wind storm on Mars, which blocked out the sun for several months. Opportunity is powered by solar energy and without any new energy, the rover’s batteries are drained.

In those months since Opportunity went off online, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California has sent over 600 commands to the rover in hopes of reviving it. However, the warmer temperatures and wind knocking off the dust on the rover have not helped.

John Callas, the mission project manager for JPL said to reporters, “We’ve got another week, we are running out of time.”

The Martian winter has ended a rover’s mission before; it ended Spirit’s mission in 2011. But winter on Mars is still months away. However, the temperatures are dropping in the southern hemisphere where Opportunity is located right now.

The efforts to revive Opportunity have lasted just as long as Spirit’s attempts, but JPL has tried multiple long shot attempts. JPL had plans to head to NASA’s headquarters to talk about the next options for Opportunity, but that was postponed due to the government shutdown, which just ended on Friday.

Opportunity has lived up to its name. It has brought a ton of opportunity to everyone wanting to learn more about Mars, but it has done the impossible as well. Opportunity’s mission was supposed to last only 90 days when it landed on Mars on January 25, 2004, but it has lasted over 5,480 days and the rover has traveled about 28 miles in that time span.

It would, of course, be sad to see the end of NASA’s most successful mission but in the end, the many opportunities that Opportunity has brought to us are not to be forgotten.

YouTube Promises to Stop Promoting Misleading Videos

Believe it or not, there are people out there who believe that the Earth is flat even though it has been proven that the Earth is a sphere. But now, if you make a video on YouTube saying that the Earth is flat, your video won’t be recommended.

For years now, videos about Flat Earth theory, as well as videos about 9/11 and Sandy Hook being inside jobs, have popped up in people’s recommendations.

While this change will affect less than 1% of YouTube’s videos, that 1% is over a million videos on the platform.

Lawmakers have been increasingly worried about the spread of false propaganda that can be harmful to those who have lost loved ones in tragedies like 9/11.

You may be asking how can YouTube and its parent company, Google, do this in the United States? Well, it comes down to Google being a private company.

The 1st Amendment of the US Constitution grants us the right to freedom of speech so why are some people like Alex Jones getting censored?

It comes down to Google being a private company, which means they are allowed to control what content is released on their sites. Which means that you will have to dig deep if you want to hear about the Flat Earth theory or the US Government is Killing People for Fun theory.

While YouTube has done the steps to remove these videos from the suggestion lists, they are not removing the videos from the platform.

Twitter and Facebook are currently trying to phase out the videos from their suggestion lists on their sites as well.

 

US Only Country at G20 Not to Back Paris Climate Accord

President Donald Trump was the only person at the G20 summit in Argentina not to sign an agreement to uphold the Paris Climate Accord, but he and 19 other countries did sign an agreement committing to reform global trade.

It is well known that the president does not believe in climate change as shown by numerous tweets, but this is a firm committment to his campaign promise that said he would leave the agreement, which he did just last year.

However, in a huge win for the president, he was able to get an agreement on trade that more or less stated a need for reform. This agreement called for the reforming of the World Trade Organization. A topic of Trump’s campaign was that the United States has been treated unfairly by multiple countries in trade agreements.

The White House is treating the G20 as a victory for the president as he was able to achieve a better deal for the United States.

President Trump had to cut his visit short due to the death of former president George H.W. Bush on Friday.  He and the First Lady are planning on going to the funeral, which is to be held next week.

Trump has made it clear to the entire world that the United States will not be a part of the climate accord and the question now is: Will the Paris Climate Accord succeed without the United States?

Continue reading US Only Country at G20 Not to Back Paris Climate Accord

Trump Administration Releases Report on Climate Change

A new report on climate change released by the U.S. Government shows not only that climate change is very real but it is also going to have dire effects on our economy.

The report, which was released on Friday, was due in December but was released early as Americans were distracted by family, friends, shopping, and good food.

The report states that if the United States was unable to change its course, the economy could lose over 10% of its GDP in a worst-case scenario.

This report only comes days after a tweet from the President asking what happened to global warming after most Americans across the nation experienced record-breaking cold weather.

However, as explained in most reports, a “record-breaking weather event” like the one on Thanksgiving is nothing compared to the yearly average, which shows humans are dealing with warming conditions.

As of right now, the top countries in the world, better known as the G20, are not reaching climate targets, according to research done by Climate Transparency.

Without any serious prevention or attempts to reduce our greenhouse emissions, the average global temperatures will rise over 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century.

We know that rising temperatures can have negative effects on our farming production and our health. We will be unable to work some days due to temperatures being too high, which will result in deaths to the lack of food and water.

We have been taught this many times in science class, and it is up to us to make sure that our children have a planet to live on by 2100.

Progress of Programs: The Rise of Small Productions

In the distant past of 1995, the first fully computer-generated animation film fell with style in to the laps of a generation; that movie was Toy Story.

This particular film was created in what Pixar referred to as their processor farm, because the machines would literally make animal noises when one finished a frame.

Just as with the rest of technology, we have progress very far in the 23 years since Toy Story.

What was once a process consuming hundreds of thousands of dollars and taking more man hours than fixing a city street, we can now do on tablets no bigger than a standard notebook.  

Two little words make this concept of computer animation for the every man possible: Open Source.

These programs, available online and often completely free, give creators the chance to stand among titans of production industry, like Disney and Pixar.

Truly this is the age of “where there’s a will there’s a way” for those with the will to create their own animation.

One program, however, is leading the charge for this movement: Blender, from the Blender Foundation, a dutch public-benefit corporation.  

You may be asking yourself, why Blender specifically? Surely there are other programs? But Blender has a couple of examples that really set it in the forefront of this movement.

The smaller of the two is a short film directed by Daniel M. Lara, and it is the 6th short film funded by the Blender Cloud. The beauty of this film is it shows off how even if your wanting to make 2D animation you can with this program.

Traditionally, most animation does need to be created nearly frame by frame. Often we allow for reusable resources like backgrounds or make minimal changes while leaving most of the frame static.

The main reason is consistency in as many aspects as we can, barring an artistic form of design or direction. Using a 3D animation setup, certain things like character orientation or spatial recognition within environments.  

While using Blender for 2D animation is very doable and has its advantages, the program was designed for 3D animation primarily.

The second film that shows us the tangible power of Blender on a few different levels is the film Next Gen created by a few studios hailing from China, Canada, and the U.S.A, but helmed by Netflix.

The reason this film is so important right now is that ninety-five percent of the animation used was Blender.

From a business standpoint that is super smart as getting Adobe Animate for a studio of around ten computers/tablets for animating would run you $2039.40 before tax.

Also that’s just the one program if you need others like Photoshop the costs begin to pile up quickly given the number of animators, foley artists, directors, musicians, and the numerous other employees you still need to pay.  

Next Gen is something to look towards as animators for seeing just how far you can get with this free program. Given some mid-grade hardware individuals can produce excellent quality films.

Though studios under Netflix do have an advantage over indie productions given that their animators get paid and have more time to devote strictly to production.

However, like I said at the beginning, where there is a will, there is a way. Remember, passion is the life blood of creation, and for those passionate enough the tools are before you. What will you create? 

 

On Toy Story: 

https://medium.com/the-mission/the-story-behind-the-toy-story-e660368bd0db 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-toy-story-anniversary-20150930-story.html 

https://www.theverge.com/2015/3/17/8229891/sxsw-2015-toy-story-pixar-making-of-20th-anniversary 

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/production-begins-on-toy-story 

 

On Blender: 

https://www.blender.org/about/ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKmSdY56VtY     Hero – made with blender’s grease pencil 

 

 

 

A Setback to Keystone XL Pipeline in Court

A judge has ruled that the Trump Administration has not presented a “reasoned explanation” for continuing the Keystone pipeline project. The administration also “simply discarded” evidence that said the pipeline could have a negative effect on the climate. As a result, the Keystone XL pipeline project has been halted for the time being.

Judge Brian Morris of the United States District Court in Montana blocked the construction of the 1,179 mile pipeline that would push oil from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast. For the past decade, the project has been halted and fought in the courts.

This decision will lead to a legal battle over climate change and global warming, which the president has described as “fake news.”

President Trump, as he was leaving the White House to travel to France for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, said to reporters, “I think it’s a disgrace,” when asked about the decision regarding the pipeline.

While experts have said that the pipeline would not have an effect on jobs or climate change, people have fought against the pipeline since George W. Bush was in office back in 2008.

Mark Squillace, an expert on environmental law at the University of Colorado Law School, said to the New York Times that the Trump Administration has not done a good job dealing with the findings of the previous administration (Obama). Squillace noted that political stances can change, but one thing that won’t is how you get from “point A to point B.”

While there are plenty of options to appeal, oppressors of the project are celebrating the win, after a decade-long battle against the pipeline, which is mostly completed.

This could be only the beginning of a very long court battle that most likely may reach the Supreme Court.

Mission Abort: ISS in Danger of Being Abandoned

On Thursday, a Soyuz rocket carrying an American and a Russian had to abort its mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station after the rocket suffered a failure that resulted in an emergency landing.

Astronauts Alexei Ovchinin and Nick Hague were the men who made the emergency landing. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, both men were very calm in the moment.  Bridenstine did have one communication issue with the astronauts as Hague was speaking in Russian to Bridenstine.

The International Space Station

The rocket, which was meant to go to the International Space Station, failed only two minutes after launch. The capsule fell at an altitude of 31 miles, which caused the men to experience gravitational forces 6-7 times the amount felt on Earth.

The failed attempt was the first manned mission for Russia in nearly three decades, although Russia has had to deal with failed missions involving unmanned missions.

Investigators are looking into why the spacecraft failed. Bridenstine has stated another mission, which involves taking a crew to the ISS in December, may be delayed.

The current crew at ISS which includes an American, a Russian, and a German, is scheduled to leave the space station in December. They could stay at the ISS until next year if needed, according to a Russian official.

If a crew cannot be brought to the ISS by the time the current crew leaves, the ISS may be abandoned for the time period.  That would be the first time since its launch in 1998. The ISS is expected to be fully operational until 2028.

Michael May Be Over But Devastation Lies Throughout US

Just days after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida, residents are returning to what is left of their homes. Here are the latest updates on the storm that damaged the East Coast.

Hurricane Michael was originally going to be a strong category 3 hurricane. By the time it hit Florida, Michael was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, with a pressure of 919 mbar and winds of 155 mph. This hurricane was only 2 mph away from a category 5, which is the most powerful hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

As of Saturday, 19 people were killed directly because of the hurricane and tropical storm. That number includes 6 that were killed in Virginia. The most notable death was Lt. Brad Clark of  Hanover County Fire Department and EMS. Lt. Clark, 43, and three other firefighters who survived were responding to an accident on I295 when a vehicle, driven by Lester Labarge of California, Maryland, crashed into the firetruck, killing Lt. Clark and injuring two others. Labarge, 49, has been charged with reckless driving and cited with defective brakes according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As for the currently low death rate, the areas that were hit in Florida have a low population compared to Katrina, which made landfall in New Orleans in 2005.

As for Florida, the recovery process has just begun for the Sunshine State. People have started to pick up the pieces of their lives as they fight to get food and water. The Florida National Guard and numerous volunteer groups have been trying to provide as much water and food as possible, while the rebuild has not started yet. Florida Governor and Senate candidate Rick Scott calls the area hit hardest by Michael “a war zone.”

The hardest hit areas in Florida are Bay County and Mexico Beach. According to the head of FEMA, Brock Long, those areas are not safe to return to as of now and won’t be safe to return to for a while.

If you want to help with the Michael recovery efforts in Florida, the American Red Cross, World Hope International, and many other organizations have set up web pages so you can donate.

 

Another one! Hurricane Michael takes aim to US

Oh boy. We have another hurricane that has taken aim to the United States with the possibility of the storm hitting Radford University.

Hurricane Michael as of Monday 8:00pm is a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph and it is currently moving 12 mph north, heading towards Cuba. Hurricane winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center while tropical storm-force winds can extend outward up to 175 miles. These numbers are according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of right now as well, Michael is expected not to move much as it gathers strength in the Gulf of Mexico

As of right now, Florida and Alabama have declared state of emergencies while numerous other states are montoring the path the hurricane might take. As with the last major hurricane, Florence, no one is able to take an exact prediction on where the hurricane is going to hit.

As for us here in Radford, really the only thing we can do as of right now is to montior the storm and its path, and to hope for the best for those in path of the storm.

In Florida, multiple schools and universities have closed for the rest of the week while businesses will stay open until the evacuation orders are made by the governor.

Hurricane Michael according to NHC has the potential to reach category 3 levels which would be devastating to areas in a flood plain or poorer areas of Florida and Cuba.

Keep up with your local TV stations and/or The Weather Channel for up to date information on Michael’s track towards the United States as it gets closer to impact.

 

 

What If We Only Used Wind Energy?

It has become common knowledge of the lack of sustainability in humanity’s current answers to meeting energy needs. Eventually, we as a species will run out of those resources upon which we rely. For this reason, scientists have been looking for renewable resources that work, and would provide the world with a cleaner, more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Among these ideas, wind power has done very well for us in certain areas. However, on its own, even a resource as plentiful as wind may not help us.

A study done by Harvard University applied physicists, Lee Miller and David Keith, found that if the United States was able to produce 0.46 terawatts of electric power (the amount currently used) using just wind turbines, that area would be much warmer than normal.

Miller and Keith were able to do this study using a parallel world between the years of 2012-2014. They made the central United States as location of the 0.46 terawatt wind farm.  They found that the center of where the huge wind farm would be, the temperatures would rise as much as 1 degree Celsius or about 2 or 3  degrees Fahrenheit give or take. The temperature in the United States would rise 0.24 degrees which is would about a 1 degree Fahrenheit increase. The 0.24 figure is figure of our current rise temperatures. By 2030, the United States’ average temperature would have risen 0.24 degree Celsius.

Wind turbines peek above the low clouds, providing clean, renewable energy and a path forward… but even they can’t be the only way to a sustainable tomorrow.

To put into perspective how wind turbines could affect something as drastic as the weather, turbines alter the climate by increasing the atmospheric mixing that is within the boundary layer–the layer of our atmosphere just above the Earth’s surface. Numerous turbines would pull the warmer air from the boundary layer’s upper part down towards the cooler air.

The turbines would also redistribute moisture and heat. According to another recent study featured in Science News, it was found that a wind farm with the amount of terawatts required by the United States could result in more precipitation and vegetation in the Sahara Desert itself.

In the end, the temperature rise with the wind farm would be spontaneous, but it would still take a century to even see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to even counteract the rise in heat from the turbines.

While this study scenario is very unlikely, getting rid of fossil fuels altogether would need a mixture of wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources (and maybe even nuclear), and as we all know, a reduction in fossil fuels would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

While having a single massive wind farm may answer the call for better renewable energy sources, it is ofttimes worth taking a step back to see if something new could be even more disastrous than the status quo. While wind energy may not be a singular savior, it nonetheless will continue to help in humanity’s way towards a greener tomorrow.

Australia is on Pace to Eliminate Cervical Cancer

Most people may have heard about certain vaccines that have come close to eradicating diseases, such as Smallpox. Cancer, however, has long been a different story. While cancer is technically considered a disease, it is more accurately described as runaway cellular reproduction with no known cure as now. One country, however, may have found a way to eliminate a certain type of cancer through vaccines.

In a new study released by the Lancet Public Health, it was found that by 2028, only 4 in every 100,000 women could be diagnosed with cervical cancer annually in Australia, which would eliminate the disease as a public health issue, and by 2066, researchers say that less than one woman per year could receive the bad news.

The reason for results like these is because of a government program encouraging parents to get a vaccine for the cancer-causing human Papillomavirus (HPV) for their children.

Karen Canfell, the Director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSW, the organization which has produced the findings, said to the New York Times, “I think this shows the way forward for other countries.”

Australia started the vaccination program in 2007 as a three-dose course for teenage girls that was cost-free to families. In 2013, the program was expanded to school-age boys. Though relatively unaffected, boys can be carriers and transmit the disease to others. Boys can also develop other forms of cancer if they have HPV.

This has led to a 77% reduction in the types of HPV that are most responsible for cervical cancer.

While the success of the vaccine has resulted in reduction of cases involving cervical cancer, it is still the fourth most common form of cancer in women in the world today and an additional 570,000 cases are expected in just this year.

In the United States, the rate of teens that are vaccinated is only 49%, while countries like Japan are far, far fewer thanks to fear campaigns like those that say that autism comes from vaccines, which has been proven wrong quite a few times now.

The best way to think of this is that if you are young enough to get a vaccination, you should. It will reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer and improve your life span.

The search for Planet X leads to an amazing discovery

Ever since the discovery of Pluto by Clyde W. Tombaugh in 1930, scientists have been on the search for anything beyond what seemed to be our solar system’s outermost member. Apart from a few moons, and then a 2006 decision that reclassified Pluto as a dwarf-planet, there has not been much information on finding “Planet X.” Well, not until this past week.

An artist's concept of what "the Goblin" might look like in space. Photo from earthsky.org
An artist’s concept of what “the Goblin” might look like in space. Photo from earthsky.org

In new research led by the Carnegie Institution for Science found a extremely distant object that is billions of miles away from Pluto. The object has a orbit that leaves hints of maybe more objects like “Planet X” or a planet that is Earth like.

The object, which is now has the nickname “The Goblin” is only 200 miles wide. The scientific name of the object is the very boring, 2015 TG387. Names like those are usually given to asteroids. The object is almost 8 billion miles away from the Sun. In comparsion, Pluto is two and a half times closer to the Sun.

David Tholen of the University of Hawaii and a member of the Carnegie Institution’s research team said to USA Today, “We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the solar system’s fringes, but their distance makes finding them very difficult.”

Telescopes from the United States and even as far as Chile were used to determine the location of “the Goblin” and 12 additional moons of Jupiter that were previous unknown.

Research like this could lead to the discovery of either another inhabitable planet or a “Super Earth” that could support life in our Solar System.