Nasa closer to finding life beyond earth

WASHINGTON (TIP): Do you often dream about extraterrestrial life beyond earth? Nasa scientists are engaged in proving your dreams to be true. In a panel discussion held at Nasa headquarters in Washington, DC, experts outlined Nasa’s road map to the search for life in the universe, an ongoing journey that involves a number of current and future telescopes. “Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say: That star has a planet like earth,” said Sara Seager, a professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Nasa road map will continue with the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite (TESS) in 2017, the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb Telescope) in 2018, and perhaps the proposed Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope — Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) early in the next decade.

These upcoming telescopes will find and characterise a host of new exoplanets – those planets that orbit other stars — expanding our knowledge of their atmospheres and diversity. “This technology we are using to explore exoplanets is real. The James Webb Space Telescope and the next advances are happening now.

These are not dreams — this is what we do at Nasa,” explained John Grunsfeld, an astronaut and associate administrator for Nasa’s science mission directorate in Washington.

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Volume 4 Issue 41 | Dallas | Oct 21

Print Edition ~ Digitally   Issue 41 ~ Dallas ~ Oct 21  
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