Third planet found in Kepler 47 system; Scientists print first 3D heart - Current Affairs

Researchers from San Diego State University has discovered a third planet in a two-star system named Kepler-47. It is seven times the size of the Earth and the largest in its system.

Created On: Apr 17, 2019 10:27 ISTModified On: Apr 17, 2019 10:39 IST
Third Planet found in the Kepler-47 System

Story 1: Astronomers Discover Third Planet in the Kepler-47 System

A team of scientists led by San Diego State University has discovered a third planet in a two-star system named Kepler-47, which is seven times the size of the Earth and the largest in its system. To study of this system, team used NASA's Kepler space telescope to find the Neptune-to-Saturn-size planet orbiting between two previously known planets.

The planets in the Kepler-47 system were detected via the “transit method.” It means if the orbital plane of the planet is aligned edge-on as seen from Earth, the planet can pass in front of the host stars, leading to a measurable decrease in the observed brightness. The new planet, dubbed Kepler-47d, was not detected earlier due to weak transit signals.

About Kepler-47

  • Kepler-47d’s equilibrium temperature is roughly 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), while Kepler-47c is 26 degrees F ( 32 degrees C).
  • The innermost planet, which is the smallest circumbinary planet known, is a much hotter 336 degrees F (169 degrees C).
  • While a low density is not that unusual for the sizzling hot-Jupiter type exoplanets, it is rare for mild-temperature planets.
  • The inner, middle, and outer planets are 3.1, 7.0, and 4.7 times the size of the Earth, and take 49, 187, and 303 days, respectively, to orbit around their suns.
  • The stars themselves orbit each other in only 7.45 days; one star is similar to the Sun, while the other has a third of the mass of the Sun.
  • The entire system is compact and would fit inside the orbit of the Earth. It is approximately 3340 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Cygnus.


With the discovery of the new planet, a much better understanding of the system is possible. For example, researchers now know the planets in this circumbinary system are very low density, less than that of Saturn, the Solar System planet with the lowest density.


Back in 2012, Welsh and his colleagues, led by fellow SDSU astronomer Jerome Orosz, announced the discovery of two planets circling the two stars. These worlds, Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c, both have two Suns in their skies. They saw a hint of a third planet back in 2012, but with only one transit they needed more data to be sure.

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Story 2: Scientists print world’s first 3D heart using human tissues

Researchers from Tel Aviv University, Israel have made world's first 3D printed vascularised engineered heart using a patient's own tissues and biological materials. Their findings were published in Advanced Science Magazine. Researchers managed to produce an entire heart, complete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers. It is a noteworthy improvement over previous attempts that only printed simple tissues without vessels.

This first 3D heart is the size of a rabbit’s heart. Professor Tal Dvir, who led the research now hope to stimulate the printed heart into functioning like a real one. The cells are currently able to contract, but not yet have the all-important ability to pump.

Importance of 3D heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the world. Heart transplantation is currently the only treatment available to patients with end-stage heart failure. Given the dire shortage of heart donors, the need to develop new approaches to regenerate the diseased heart is urgent.

How researchers made a 3D heart?

  • The process of creating the heart started with a biopsy of fatty tissue taken from patients.
  •  The cellular material from the tissues was used as the "ink" for the print job.
  • That allowed researchers to create complex tissue models including cardiac patches and eventually an entire heart.
  • First 3D heart is not the actual size of human heart but a complete prototype.
  • But the technology that made it possible could eventually lead to the production of a human-sized organ.
  • Currently, the hearts can only contract but researchers plan on culturing the 3D printed hearts and teaching them how to operate like the real deal.
  • Once that process is complete, they will attempt to transplant them into animal models.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 3D printing belongs to a class of techniques known or building objects layer by layer. Today, 3D printers not only make jewellery and toothbrushes but also football boots, racing-car parts, custom-designed cakes, human organs, houses, aeroplane parts and even more efficient lithium-ion batteries. One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very complex shapes or geometries, and a prerequisite for producing any 3D printed part is a digital 3D model.

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