People Appreciation

At NASA’s Ames Research Center, William Borucki, the mission’s chief scientist, lectures on the space observatory orbiting the sun in search of distant Earthlike planets. New discoveries suggest that our galaxy contains billions of Earth-size worlds.  Now the search is on for a planet that truly resembles our own– and could support life.  Kepler II’s six planets orbit their sun.  Keplar 22b, the first planet discovered to orbit the “habitable zone”, where water could exist is below:

An artist's concept of Kepler-22b

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7 thoughts on “People Appreciation

  1. The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone.

  2. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    Kathleen, I’m following the Kepler Mission also. This is a centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth! So much going on in The Milky Way! Bill Borucki reasoned if you observe blinking/winking of ten thousand or more stars at once, you will catch a planet– this is because the blinking is caused by planets passing over their sun. Bright imaginative thinker, Bill Borucki!

  3. Janessa Breckenridge

    Borucki is one of many hard working and intelligent astronomers. Dr. David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, says one problem at the Kepler mission is keeping up with the flood of data streaming down form powerful cameras. Of 2,300 planets flagged, only a couple dozen have been studied in detail.

  4. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    I like the term GOLDILOCKS Worlds– where things are just right for life! Not too close (to their sun), not to far (space is a cold place), but just right where liquid water can be present in abundance. Life as we know it can’t exist without water. But Life as we haven’t imagined it is, is more of a riddle.

  5. Janessa Breckenridge

    My husband is an engineer,and he explained the Kepler photometer is a simple single purpose instrument. It’s basically a Schmidt telescope that records data from a single group of stars for the three or more year duration.

  6. Many co-discoveries are going on. The superWASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) with scopes in South Africa and the Canary Islands has found 26 planets. Nikku Madhusudhan, now at Yale, reported a world strangely rich in carbon.

  7. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    There’s David Charbonneau at Harvard who is leading the MEarth project. He analyzed a planet’s atmosphere (GJ 1214b) to be half rock half water.

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