Earth-sized planets coming soon

Preparing Kepler for launch

Preparing Kepler for launch

In just under 15 days, NASA will be launching one of the new next-generation space telescopes, Kepler. This photometer based scope will observe a section of the sky looking for planetary transits. A transit occurs when a planet crosses in front of the star it orbits (from our vantage point on Earth anyway). Kepler will be able to detect the slight drop in luminosity of the star’s shine. It will be sensitive enough to detect a planet as small as the Earth! The scope will be able to “continuously and simultaneously monitor the brightnesses of more than 100,000 stars“. Wow. We’re talking 30 – 90 terabytes of image data!

I can’t wait until we start to see results from this magnificant piece of hardware and software. How many more exoplanets will we add to our known catalog? How many will be earth-sized and have signatures for water and oxygen? Will one of the new discoveries be the target of humanity’s first extra-solar mission? So many questions, so many possibilities…

Advertisements

About Geordi Calrissian

African American? Check. Nerd cred? Check. Star Trek? Check. Star Wars? Check. What else is there?

Posted on February 18, 2009, in astronomy, tech and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sounds awesome. Hope we find something nifty soon, the public is forgetting the potential rewards of space exploration again…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: