Air Cache – Air and Space Portal http://theaircache.com Half Encyclopedia, Half Breaking News, All Air and Space Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:51:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Weymouth, Mass. Native Serves aboard USS George H.W. Bush http://theaircache.com/2018/03/22/weymouth-mass-native-serves-aboard-uss-george-h-w-bush/ http://theaircache.com/2018/03/22/weymouth-mass-native-serves-aboard-uss-george-h-w-bush/#respond Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:51:54 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2459 By Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Omar Diaz NORFOLK, Va. – A Weymouth, Massachusetts, native and 2017 Weymouth High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. Seaman Benjamin MacDonald is serving aboard the carrier operating out of the Navy’s(...)

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A Weymouth, Massachusetts, native and 2017 Weymouth High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. Seaman Benjamin MacDonald is serving aboard the carrier operating out of the Navy’s largest base.

A Weymouth, Massachusetts, native and 2017 Weymouth High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.
Seaman Benjamin MacDonald is serving aboard the carrier operating out of the Navy’s largest base.

By Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Omar Diaz
NORFOLK, Va. – A Weymouth, Massachusetts, native and 2017 Weymouth High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.
Seaman Benjamin MacDonald is serving aboard the carrier operating out of the Navy’s largest base.
As a seaman, MacDonald is responsible for standard shipboard evolutions.
“I like the family atmosphere aboard the ship,” said Macdonald.
Named in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet.  The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide.  Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at more than 35 mph.
Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft.
As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, MacDonald learns about life at sea serving in the Navy and the importance of taking personal responsibility while leading others while still using lessons learned from their hometown.
“My hometown taught me that if you don’t succeed your first time, always keep trying,” said MacDonald. “It helps me because I haven’t been in the Navy long and my dad always tells me he doesn’t care what I do as long as I do my best.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing responsible for flying and maintaining more than 70 aircraft aboard the ship.
George H.W. Bush, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.
All of this makes the George H.W. Bush a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.
“I got a shout-out from the commanding officer during captain’s call for focusing on my work which I’m very proud of,” said MacDonald.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, MacDonald and other George H.W. Bush sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“The Navy has made me stronger,” added MacDonald. “It’s shown me that some people can be hard to work with but you have to learn to work together.”

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Russian Air Force An-26 Cargo Plane Crashes in Syria, Killing 32 http://theaircache.com/2018/03/06/russian-air-force-26-cargo-plane-crashes-syria-killing-32/ http://theaircache.com/2018/03/06/russian-air-force-26-cargo-plane-crashes-syria-killing-32/#respond Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:56:37 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2453 A Russian Air Force Antonov An-26 “Curl” cargo plane crashed on descent in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people on board, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, as reported by the Associated Press. The An-26 was landing  with 26 passengers and six crew when it crashed 1,600 feet short of the runway. The cargo(...)

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A Russian Air Force An-26, similar to the one seen here in this stock photo, crashed in Syria on March 6. (Wikimedia)

A Russian Air Force Antonov An-26 “Curl” cargo plane crashed on descent in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people on board, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, as reported by the Associated Press.

The An-26 was landing  with 26 passengers and six crew when it crashed 1,600 feet short of the runway.

The cargo plane was landing at the Hemeimeem military base, which Russia leases from Syria. The base is along the Mediterranean coast, far from the front lines of the ongoing Syrian Civil War. The plan did not come under fire, according to the Russians, who are blaming a “technical error” for the crash.

The An-26 is a venerable Soviet-era cargo jet in wide use throughout the world in military and civil service. More than 1,400 have been built from 1969-1986 when production ceased. While the plane is a workhorse for many agencies, it is aging equipment and is quickly breaking down, with 17 reported crashes in the last 10 years. This incident is the sixth reported AN-26 crash since the beginning of 2017.  In October 2017, a French An-26 crashed while landing in the Ivory Coast, killing four and wounding six. The French plane was Soviet built and 42 years old.

This is the second Russian Air Force An-26 lost in the Syrian Civil War. In 2015, another An-26 crashed while trying to land at an air base in Idlib Governorate.

The continued use of the An-26 is one of the many little chinks in the myth of modern Russian armor and armament. While Russia’s military has made great strides in recent years, the backbone of its military is still decades behind the U.S. and Europe. The majority of the several hundred Russian military cargo/transport planes are propeller-driven and were built when the Soviet Union still existed. Even its jet transports like the venerable IL-76 “Candid” has been around since 1971. Another problem for Russia is that Antonov is a Ukranian company. The modern, AN-148, introduced in 2009, has stalled for Russia because of slow production times and the cooling of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Russia. As a result, the Russian military only has 12 of the modern passenger/cargo jets in service.

By comparison, while the United States Air Force still maintains and uses more than 300 C-130 “Hercules” variants of the Cold War prop-driven cargo plane, it has switched to the modern C-17A “Globemaster III” for much of its logistical work. The “Globemaster III” was first deployed in 1995, and the U.S. has more than 200 in service today.

While not commonly armed, interestingly, the An-26 was used as a bomber by the Sudanese Air Force during the Second Sudanese Civil War and the War in Darfur. Russian pilots also train with the AN-26 as a bomber simulator.

The twin-engine turboprop has a typical crew of five and can seat up to 40 people and carry cargo.

An-26 cargo cabin (Credit: Dmitry Belov)

An-26 cargo cabin (Credit: Dmitry Belov)

The Chinese transport  Xian Y-7 is a derivative of the An-24 and An-26.

 

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Russian Su-24 “Fencer” shot down by Turkish forces http://theaircache.com/2015/11/24/russian-su-24-fencer-shot-down-by-turkish-forces/ http://theaircache.com/2015/11/24/russian-su-24-fencer-shot-down-by-turkish-forces/#respond Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:01:24 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2441 Turkish forces claimed Friday that at least two of its F-16 fighters fired upon and destroyed a Russian Su-24 “Fencer” strike fighter after it violated the NATO ally’s airspace. The move is likely to set off a diplomatic frenzy, and it is the latest test in what will be a tenuous and tedious relationship between(...)

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Turkish forces claimed Friday that at least two of its F-16 fighters fired upon and destroyed a Russian Su-24 “Fencer” strike fighter after it violated the NATO ally’s airspace.

The move is likely to set off a diplomatic frenzy, and it is the latest test in what will be a tenuous and tedious relationship between American/NATO forces and the Russian military in the Syrian Civil War and the battle against ISIS/ISIL.

The Su-24 is a sweep-wing strike aircraft very similar to the retired American F-111 “Aardvark.” Its wings resemble that of the iconic American F-14 “Tomcat” fighter, but the Su-24 is not primarily an air-to-air fighter craft. Typically, the “Fencer” is used in ground attack and missile delivery missions, though it can be equipped to defend itself against air attack. In addition to bombs and and missiles, the Su-24 is equipped with the 23 mm GSh-6-23 cannon with 500 rounds standard, and it typically takes off with two air-to-air missiles.

Turkish forces are claiming that the Russian jet repeatedly violated Turkish air space and was shot down after several warnings. The Russians have denied this, saying their plane was always flying over Syria.

‘‘We are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet,’’ Russia’s Defense Ministry told the Associated Press. ‘‘The Ministry of Defense would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.’’

Background

SUKHOI_Su-24_FENCERThe Su-24 was in production from 1967-1993. Out of the 1,400 units built, hundreds remain in service today with several nations, particularly former Soviet states. As of 2008, more than 400 remained in service in the Russian military.

The attack craft satisfied the Soviet need for an agile, all-weather, supersonic strike fighter in an era in which virtually all American efforts were in building interceptor aircraft to counter the Soviet Union’s massive nuclear capable bombers.

While the Su-24 is an ancient Cold War design, the fighter that was shot down by the Turks is almost certainly a highly-updated Su-24M variant. It stands to reason that the Russians would only deploy its most advanced version of this aircraft to the front lines of a battlefield, and these planes have previously been seen operating over Syria. The “M” has GLONASS navigation, upgraded computer technology including multi-function displays, a head-up display, and helmet-mounted weapon sights. It can also carry the latest and most advanced weapons, including R-73 “Archer” air-to-air missiles.

Syrian Connection

This is not the first Su-24 involvement or loss during the Syrian Civil War. The Syrian government operates several Soviet-era planes, including the “Fencer.” In November 2012, a “Fencer” was seen attacking anti-government rebel positions. Later that month, one of the Syrian Air Force Su-24s was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Aleppo.

On Sept. 23, 2014, the Israeli Air Force shot down another Syrian Su-24 using a surface-to-air missile after the Su-24 allegedly violated Israeli air space over the Golan Heights.

Prior to today, the Russians had 12 Su-24s operating as part of its recent military operations in Syria.

A Russian Air Force Su-24M2, most likely the same variant that was shot down by Turkey on Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo credit Toshi Aoki - JP Spotters)

A Russian Air Force Su-24M2, most likely the same variant that was shot down by Turkey on Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo credit Toshi Aoki – JP Spotters)

 

 

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Navy Promotes Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) in New Video http://theaircache.com/2015/08/10/navy-promotes-electromagnetic-aircraft-launch-system-emals-in-new-video/ http://theaircache.com/2015/08/10/navy-promotes-electromagnetic-aircraft-launch-system-emals-in-new-video/#respond Mon, 10 Aug 2015 17:10:43 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2434 The US Navy is promoting its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), the wave of the future in which aircraft will be launched on future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. The electromagnetic system will replace steam-driven catapults, which have launched navy aircraft for 60 years. “EMALS uses stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion. This(...)

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The US Navy is promoting its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), the wave of the future in which aircraft will be launched on future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers.

The electromagnetic system will replace steam-driven catapults, which have launched navy aircraft for 60 years.

“EMALS uses stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion. This technology permits a high degree of computer control, monitoring and automation. The system will also provide the capability for launching all current and future carrier air wing platforms – lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters,” the Navy said in a statement.

The video below shows EMALS in action, with a text off the USS Gerald R. Ford.

EMALS is purported to more more reliable and efficient than steam catapults, providing better end-speed control and the capacity to launch larger, heavier aircraft than ever before.

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Here’s Pluto! http://theaircache.com/2015/07/14/heres-pluto/ http://theaircache.com/2015/07/14/heres-pluto/#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2015 20:13:43 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2428 Here is the best image we have ever seen of Pluto, because this is the closest a man-made object has ever come to the former ninth planet. New Horizons snapped and beamed this wonderful photo to Earth when it was just 766,000 kilometers from the surface of Pluto. It is the first time human eyes(...)

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Here is the best image we have ever seen of Pluto, because this is the closest a man-made object has ever come to the former ninth planet.

New Horizons snapped and beamed this wonderful photo to Earth when it was just 766,000 kilometers from the surface of Pluto. It is the first time human eyes have ever seen Pluto in all of its glory.

The heart-shaped terrain at the bottom was unknown, as are all of the wonderful and diverse terrain features we can now feast our eyes upon!

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Scientists have found life in space … and it’s not what you think http://theaircache.com/2014/08/29/scientists-found-life-space-think/ http://theaircache.com/2014/08/29/scientists-found-life-space-think/#respond Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:02:33 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2424 I’m not kidding. It’s not quite little green men, but Russian cosmonauts have found microscopic organisms living on the outside surface of the International Space Station. The microscopic lifeforms, identified as a type of sea plankton, were found during a spacewalk recently. “Results of the experiment are absolutely unique,” Russian ISS Orbital Mission Chief Vladimir(...)

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I’m not kidding.

It’s not quite little green men, but Russian cosmonauts have found microscopic organisms living on the outside surface of the International Space Station.

The microscopic lifeforms, identified as a type of sea plankton, were found during a spacewalk recently.

“Results of the experiment are absolutely unique,” Russian ISS Orbital Mission Chief Vladimir Solovyev told ITAR-TASS. “This should be studied further.”

Phytoplankton similar to what was found on the surface of the ISS

Phytoplankton similar to what was found on the surface of the ISS

Gizmodo reports that there’s a chance that this life not only survived in the vacuum of space, but it might have multiplied and grew!

Neither NASA nor the Russian space agency can account for how sea plankton ended up on the outer hull of the ISS. One far-fetched explanation says that atmospheric currents might be lifting the lifeforms up from the ocean all the way to the ISS — which is 205 miles in the sky.

The lifeforms were found when cosmonauts on a clean-up mission analyzed engine gunk that had dirtied the surface of the ISS.

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Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C Crashes in Virginia http://theaircache.com/2014/08/27/massachusetts-air-national-guard-f-15c-crashes-virginia/ http://theaircache.com/2014/08/27/massachusetts-air-national-guard-f-15c-crashes-virginia/#respond Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:55:57 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2420 Media outlets are reporting that an F-15C “Eagle” out of the Massachusetts Air National Guard has crashed in Deerfield, Va. this morning. According to a statement from the Virginia State Police, police located a crash site, with heavy smoke showing from the side of a mountain. Officials were trying to reach the site around 11(...)

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A Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 (File photo/Wikimedia)

A Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 (File photo/Wikimedia)

Media outlets are reporting that an F-15C “Eagle” out of the Massachusetts Air National Guard has crashed in Deerfield, Va. this morning.

According to a statement from the Virginia State Police, police located a crash site, with heavy smoke showing from the side of a mountain. Officials were trying to reach the site around 11 a.m. EDT.

Witnesses told police they heard a loud explosion short before 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

NBC News reported that the plan was headed from Massachusetts to New Orleans for a systems upgrade.

The F-15C has a stellar performance record in service to the United States Air Force and ANG squadrons.

The F-15 is likely out of the 104th Fighter Wing, a unit of the Massachusetts ANG stationed at Barnes Air National Guard Base. It is typically under state control unless activated to federal service under the U.S. Air Force Combat Command.

The Wing currently has 20 F-15’s under its command.

 

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Chinese J-11 makes “dangerous intercept” of U.S. Navy P-8 http://theaircache.com/2014/08/22/chinese-j-11-makes-dangerous-intercept-u-s-navy-p-8/ http://theaircache.com/2014/08/22/chinese-j-11-makes-dangerous-intercept-u-s-navy-p-8/#respond Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:07:18 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2415 A Chinese Su-27 performed a series of maneuvers apparently designed to intimidate an American J-8 reconnaissance plane in international waters earlier this week. NPR reports that the P-8 “Poseidon” aircraft was flying off the island of Hainan in the South China Sea on Tuesday, when it was approached by the Russian-made fighter. The Chinese pilot performed a barrel(...)

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A Chinese Su-27 performed a series of maneuvers apparently designed to intimidate an American J-8 reconnaissance plane in international waters earlier this week.

NPR reports that the P-8 “Poseidon” aircraft was flying off the island of Hainan in the South China Sea on Tuesday, when it was approached by the Russian-made fighter.

The Chinese pilot performed a barrel roll over the P-8 and flew wing-to-wing with the American at a range approaching just 20 feet.

The J-11 is the Chinese version of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker.” It is a twin-engine super-maneuverable fighter that debuted in the Soviet Air Force in 1985 and remains one of the most advanced fighters in the world. It’s closest American counterpart is the F-15 “Eagle.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby voiced his concern about the incident when talking to reporters.

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said, calling the altercation “very, very close, very dangerous” and saying that “it undermines efforts to continue developing military-to-military relations with the Chinese military.”

The Pentagon also called the interception the most dangerous aerial encounter with a Chinese aircraft since the April 2011 mid-air collision of a Lockheed EP-3 with a Chinese J-8 interceptor.

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Canadian medevac plane crash kills pilot and paramedic, two survive http://theaircache.com/2014/08/17/canadian-medevac-plane-crash-kills-pilot-paramedic-two-survive/ http://theaircache.com/2014/08/17/canadian-medevac-plane-crash-kills-pilot-paramedic-two-survive/#respond Sun, 17 Aug 2014 15:20:18 +0000 http://theaircache.com/?p=2411 A Piper PA-31 on a medevac mission crashed on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada Saturday, killing a pilot and a paramedic on-board, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A second pilot and a registered nurse on the plane survived. Air New Brunswick (ANB) named the paramedic as William Mallock, with 20 years of service.(...)

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The plane was a Piper PA-31. It crashed after returning to Grand Manan Island from a Medevac Flight (CBC Photo)

The plane was a Piper PA-31. It crashed after returning to Grand Manan Island from a Medevac Flight (CBC Photo)

A Piper PA-31 on a medevac mission crashed on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada Saturday, killing a pilot and a paramedic on-board, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

A second pilot and a registered nurse on the plane survived.

Air New Brunswick (ANB) named the paramedic as William Mallock, with 20 years of service.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of those whose lives were lost – an Ambulance New Brunswick paramedic and a pilot from Atlantic Charters,” said a statement released by ANB, published by CBC.

ANB said that the plane had just dropped off a patient at a hospital and was returning to Grand Manon when it crashed.

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Discovered Dwarf Planet Could Mean Existence of Super Earth http://theaircache.com/2014/03/27/dwarf-planet-super-earth/ http://theaircache.com/2014/03/27/dwarf-planet-super-earth/#respond Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:55:45 +0000 http://air.blastmagazine.com/?p=2294 The discovery of a dwarf planet in a region of the solar system previously believed empty may indicate a the existence of a “Super Earth” beyond the reach of the most advanced telescopes. Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo led the team that discovered the existence of a dwarf planet called 2012 VP113. They published their(...)

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The discovery of a dwarf planet in a region of the solar system previously believed empty may indicate a the existence of a “Super Earth” beyond the reach of the most advanced telescopes.

Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo led the team that discovered the existence of a dwarf planet called 2012 VP113. They published their findings in the March 26 issue of the scientific journal “Nature”. At 7.5 billion miles from the sun when it was spotted, the dwarf planet is the 3rd farthest known object in our solar system.

Sheppard works for the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. and Trujillo hails from the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii.

The object was identified from images taken on Nov. 5, 2012 by the Dark Energy Camera located in the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Chile. Snapshots of the night sky were taken an hour apart, then the images were compiled into a time-lapse movie that revealed a new body moving among the stars.

The discovery of 2012 VP113 (nicknamed “Biden” after Vice President Joe Biden by researchers, due to the object’s initials) is significant because it is the second object that scientists have discovered in a region of space previously believed to be a wasteland devoid of planets, asteroids, and comets.

A team of scientists including Trujillo discovered the dwarf planet Sedna – the other known object in the region – in 2003. Both Sedna and “Biden” are located in the inner Oort cloud at the outer edge of the solar system. Objects within the Oort cloud are difficult to spot with telescopes because of their distances from the earth. Sedna and “Biden” were both spotted as their orbits drew closest to the sun, allowing sunlight to reflect off their surfaces and bounce back to earth.

The discovery of a second body within the region suggests that it may not be as empty as previously thought – there may be thousands of similar objects, waiting to be discovered.

2012 VP113 is 280 miles across, about half the size of Sedna. (Earth is 7,900 miles across.) Temperatures there average at -430 Fahrenheit, and the planet has a light pink tinge, making it difficult for scientists to spot. The color is caused by radiation, which alters the composition of the ice, methane, and carbon dioxide on the surface.

One of the most intriguing discoveries in relation to VP113 is the similarity of it’s orbit to the orbit of Sedna. Both have elongated, erratic orbits that loop extradinarily far beyond the sun. “Biden”’s orbit can reach a distance of 42 billion miles. The similarity in the orbits of the two objects is most likely cause by the gravitational pull of another, larger, body that is beyond scientists’ ability to see.

Scientists are excited about the possibility of the existence of a “Super Earth” as large as ten times the mass of our planet, whose gravitational pull draws Sedna and Biden into erratic orbits.

“To me,” Mike Brown, a professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, told CNN, “what this discovery really shows is that we are on the verge of finally being able to read the story that Sedna is trying to tell us, and that the next few years should bring a flood of new discoveries in this new region out of the solar system.”

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