NASA aims to look for closer, Earth-like worlds Trump ‘un­fit’ for of­fice: Comey “

Viet Nam News - - WORLD -

Val­ues mat­ter. This pres­i­dent does not re­flect the val­ues of this coun­try.”

TAMPA — NASA is poised to launch a US$337 mil­lion wash­ing ma­chine-sized space­craft that aims to vastly ex­pand mankind’s search for plan­ets be­yond our so­lar sys­tem, par­tic­u­larly closer, Earth-sized ones that might har­bour life.

The Tran­sit­ing Ex­o­planet Sur­vey Satel­lite, or TESS, was sched­uled to launch yes­ter­day at 6:32pm lo­cal time atop a SpaceX Fal­con 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Its main goal over the next two years is to scan more than 200,000 of the bright­est stars for signs of plan­ets cir­cling them and caus­ing a dip in bright­ness known as a tran­sit.

NASA pre­dicts that TESS will dis­cover 20,000 ex­o­plan­ets — or plan­ets out­side the so­lar sys­tem — in­clud­ing more than 50 Earth-sized plan­ets and up to 500 plan­ets less than twice the size of Earth.

“They are go­ing to be or­bit­ing the near­est, bright­est stars,” Elisa Quin­tana, TESS sci­en­tist at NASA’s God­dard Space­flight Cen­tre, told re­porters on Sun­day.

“We might even find plan­ets that or­bit stars that we can even see with the naked eye,” she added.

“So in the next few years we might even be able to walk out­side and point at a star and know that it has a planet. This is the fu­ture.”

Just a cou­ple of decades ago, the no­tion of find­ing hab­it­able plan­ets — or any plan­ets at all — was a mere fan­tasy, said Paul Hertz, astro­physics divi­sion di­rec­tor at NASA.

“Hu­mans have won­dered for­ever whether we were alone in the uni­verse, and un­til 25 years ago the only plan­ets we knew about were the eight in our own so­lar sys­tem,” he told re­porters on the eve of the TESS launch.

“But since then, we have found thou­sands of plan­ets or­bit­ing oth­ers stars and we think all the stars in our galaxy must have their own fam­ily of plan­ets.”

TESS is de­signed as a fol­lowon to the US space agency’s Ke­pler space­craft, which was the first of its kind and launched in 2009. The ag­ing space­craft is cur­rently low on fuel and near the end of its life.

Ke­pler found a mas­sive trove of ex­o­plan­ets by fo­cus­ing on one patch of sky, which con­tained about 150,000 stars like the Sun.

The Ke­pler mis­sion found 2,300 con­firmed ex­o­plan­ets, and thou­sands more can­di­date plan­ets. But many were too dis­tant and dim to study fur­ther. — AFP WASH­ING­TON — Fired for­mer FBI chief James Comey lashed out at Don­ald Trump in an in­ter­view with ABC broad­cast on Sun­day, call­ing him “morally un­fit” to be pres­i­dent and de­scrib­ing him as a se­rial liar who will “stain ev­ery­one around him”.

Comey’s re­marks are the lat­est salvo in a war of words with Trump, who ex­co­ri­ated the for­mer FBI di­rec­tor on Twit­ter ear­lier in the day, again call­ing him a “slime­ball” and sug­gest­ing he should be jailed.

The wide-rang­ing in­ter­view with ABC News also came ahead of to­day’s re­lease of Comey’s mem­oir, “A Higher Loy­alty: Truth, Lies and Lead­er­ship,” in which he de­tails his in­ter­ac­tions with the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent.

“I think he’s morally un­fit to be pres­i­dent,” Comey said, in his first tele­vised in­ter­view since be­ing fired in May last year.

The for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor pointed to how Trump “talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat” and “lies con­stantly about mat­ters big and small and in­sists the Amer­i­can peo­ple be­lieve it.”

“Val­ues mat­ter,” Comey said. “This pres­i­dent does not re­flect the val­ues of this coun­try.”

Comey also said that serv­ing in Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion poses a se­ri­ous eth­i­cal dilemma.

JAMES COMEY, FOR­MER FBI DI­REC­TOR

“The chal­lenge of this pres­i­dent is that he will stain ev­ery­one around him,” he told ABC, which aired an edited ver­sion of the in­ter­view but pub­lished a full tran­script.

“And the ques­tion is, how much stain is too much stain and how much stain even­tu­ally makes you un­able to ac­com­plish your goal of pro­tect­ing the coun­try and serv­ing the coun­try?”

But while Comey sharply crit­i­cised Trump, he said he hopes the pres­i­dent is not im­peached.

“I hope not be­cause I think im­peach­ing and re­mov­ing Don­ald Trump from of­fice would let the Amer­i­can peo­ple off the hook and have some­thing hap­pen in­di­rectly that I be­lieve they’re duty bound to do di­rectly.”

In his book, Comey likens Trump to a dis­hon­est, ego-driven mob boss and says he de­manded the then FBI chief’s per­sonal pledge of loy­alty — a damn­ing ac­count that has in­fu­ri­ated the pres­i­dent at a mo­ment of in­ten­si­fy­ing le­gal pres­sure on other fronts.

“I never asked Comey for Per­sonal Loy­alty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just an­other of his many lies. His ’memos’ are self serv­ing and FAKE!” Trump said in one of a se­ries of tweets fired off Sun­day be­fore the in­ter­view.

The pres­i­dent said Comey “stupidly” han­dled a probe into Trump’s 2016 elec­tion ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton and how she used a pri­vate email server dur­ing her time as sec­re­tary of state.

In an­other tweet, Trump of­fered a mini-re­view of Comey’s mem­oir.

“The big ques­tions in Comey’s badly re­viewed book aren’t an­swered like, how come he gave up Clas­si­fied In­for­ma­tion (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?”

The jum­ble of ref­er­ences ap­peared to al­lude to un­sub­stan­ti­ated ac­cu­sa­tions Trump has pre­vi­ously made claim­ing Comey lied in Sen­ate tes­ti­mony last May in deny­ing he had served as an anony­mous news source. — AFP

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