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The NExSS project is overseen by representatives from NASA HQ, three co-leads, and a Steering Committee composed of the PIs of funded proposal teams selected to be the founding members of NExSS.

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Many Worlds

Many Worlds is a website for everyone interested in the burgeoning field of exoplanet detection and research. It presents columns, news stories and in-depth features, as well as the work of guest writers.

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EB Discussions

Community commenting is now open for the Exoplanet Biosignatures Workshop Without Walls output. You may review manuscripts from May 16 - June 9, 2017.

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Around the Web

  • Sometimes a brown dwarf is actually a planet—or planet-like anyway. A team led by Carnegie’s Jonathan Gagné, and including researchers from the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at Université de Montréal, University of California San...

  • A team led by iREx researcher Lauren Weiss combined measurements from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Kepler Space Telescope to study the four known planets around WASP-47, a solar-like star located 650...

  • iREx will count 6 new researchers this summer. The Trottier summer interns will work from May to August with iREx researchers. These undergraduate students were selected among more than 20 applicants from all over Canada. To...

  • An exoplanet a bit bigger and more massive than the Earth was just detected in the habitable zone of its parent star, which is located 41 light-years away. It was possible to measure both the mass...

  • The second edition of Astronomy on Tap – MTL *** in English*** will take place March 28st at 7:30PM. Don’t miss it!   March 28st, in English, at McLean’s Pub, 7:30PM Planet Hunting 101 by David Berardo Looking for the...

  • If aliens had been watching our planet for the last billions of years, “what might they see if they watch for another hundred years?” asked Lord Martin Rees, the astronomer royal of the United Kingdom, when he gave the inaugural Carl Sagan lecture Monday night. Looking ahead toward the potential and probable technological advances expected in this century both on Earth and in space, Rees spoke to the benefits and risks they pose as humans push forward in this defining century. A board member of the Carl Sagan Institute and Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer Ann Druyan introduced Rees’ presentation by drawing...

  • After 4.5 billion years of existence, Earth’s fate may be determined this century by one species alone – ours. The unintended consequences of powerful technologies like nuclear, biotech and artificial intelligence have created high cosmic stakes for our world. The United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, will explore our vulnerabilities and possibilities in the first Carl Sagan Distinguished Lecture at Cornell Monday, May 8, at 7 p.m. in Kennedy Hall’s Call Auditorium. His talk, “Surviving the Century,” is free and open to the public. Rees will be introduced by Ann Druyan, Emmy and Peabody award-winning writer/producer of the PBS documentary...

  • The fifth Annual Yuri’s Night Lecture at Cornell: “Thousands of New Worlds” 7:30pm is a public lecture under the stars (and star gazing) that takes place tonight at Fuertes Observatory (bring a blanket if the weather cooperates). This event celebrates Yuri’s night (see below). “Thousands of New Worlds” by Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger, Cornell Prof. of Astronomy/Director of the Carl Sagan Institute, April 14, 2017 The detection of exoplanets orbiting other stars has revolutionized our view of our place in the universe. First results suggest that it is teeming with a fascinating diversity of rocky planets including those in the Habitable Zone. The...

  • Watery plumes jet out from cracks on the icy surface of the Saturn moon Enceladus. In those plumes, the spacecraft Cassini has detected molecular hydrogen, an ingredient needed for life. Galactic hitchhikers take note: The restaurant at the end of the universe may be closer than we think. After probing data from NASA spacecraft Cassini’s flight through the watery plume of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, scientists from the Southwest Research Institute, Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab and the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell confirm the presence of molecular hydrogen – a potential microbial food source and an ingredient necessary for life....

  • Hunting for habitable exoplanets now may be easier: Cornell University astronomers report that hydrogen pouring from volcanic sources on planets throughout the universe could improve the chances of locating life in the cosmos. Planets located great distances from stars freeze over. “On frozen planets, any potential life would be buried under layers of ice, which would make it really hard to spot with telescopes,” said lead author Ramses Ramirez, research associate at Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute. “But if the surface is warm enough – thanks to volcanic hydrogen and atmospheric warming – you could have life on the surface, generating a...

  • NASA just announced 7 rocky planets around the cool red star Trappist-1 – and 3 of those orbit within the Habitable Zone (where surface liquid water would be possible). Exciting discovery. Planets abound – now we’ll have to observe them to see if they are habitats – wouldn’t that be amazing? 3 potentially habitable worlds orbiting the same star. An interesting open question is whether the UV flux on the surface might be harsh to sterilizing. However if life would evolve, it could always hide underground or in an ocean… (and maybe even generate biofluorescent signatures?) Exciting times for discoveries!   https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1419/nasa-telescope-reveals-largest-batch-of-earth-size-habitable-zone-planets-around-single-star/ Artist...

  • By: Linda B. Glaser,  Arts & Sciences Communications December 2, 2016 From Nov. 25-29, Associate Professor of Astronomy Lisa Kaltenegger took part in a plenary session in Vatican City, at one of the oldest scientific academies in the world: The Pontifical Academy of Science. The conference on science and sustainability was entitled “Impacts of Scientific Knowledge and Technology on Human Society and its Environment.” In addition to Kaltenegger, speakers included Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter, Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, and physicist Stephen Hawking. The topics presented at the conference ranged broadly, from earthly concerns about plastics in the ocean to cosmic possibilities like Kaltenegger’s...

  • The Search for Life in Space (IMAX 3D) is a journey that takes us from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, to Europa, the ice moon of Jupiter, back in time to when Mars was a virtual Eden, and out into the far reaches of space in search of planets like ours. It will make you re-examine such fundamental questions as: “Where did we come from?”, “How did we get here?” and “Are we alone?” featuring the Carl Sagan Institute.  

  • The European Space Agency (ESA) has given a big boost to the “quest for other worlds in the cosmos” by giving simultaneously green light to the industrial implementation of the CHEOPS satellite developed under Swiss leadership and whose data ground-segment processing will be carried out in Geneva, and the new European M-class space mission PLATO. The latter, in which exoplanet researchers from Geneva are actively involved, has been selected just two months after the selection by the Swiss Federal Council of the National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) “PlanetS” including the University of Geneva as co-leading house. These three...

  • NCCR “PlanetS” aims to decipher the origin and evolution of planets The recent scientific progresses in planetology signal the shift from an era of discovery to one of physical and chemical characterization. In response to this shift, the NCCR PlanetS research activities will be distributed along three main scientific themes: Origin, Evolution, and Characterization. Combining astronomical observations, measurements by spacecraft of the Earth and solar system bodies, laboratory measurements, and theoretical modeling, these activities will catalyze a phase change in the breadth and depth of the research carried out in Switzerland. In addition, the PlanetS organization will coordinate education by creating an interdisciplinary...

  • Recent analyses of data from the NASA Kepler spacecraft have established that planets with radii within 25 per cent of the Earth’s are commonplace throughout the Galaxy, orbiting at least 16.5 per cent of Sun-like stars. Because these studies were sensitive to the sizes of the planets but not their masses, the question remains whether these Earth-sized planets are indeed similar to the Earth in bulk composition. The smallest planets for which masses have been accurately determined are Kepler-10b (1.42 Earth radii) and Kepler-36b (1.49 Earth radii), which are both significantly larger than the Earth. Recently, the planet Kepler-78b was discovered and found to have...

  • European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system — the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. For more information: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1241/ Artist impression of alpha Cen Bb (©ESO)

  • Water conservation is a growing concern globally, and particularly for farmers in the USA, where decades of irrigating huge fields has depleted vital resources of fresh surface water and groundwater. An ESA spin-off that can help to preserve water supplies while guaranteeing crop irrigation is now undergoing final testing.

  • Rapid acceleration of an Arctic glacier over the past year has been detected by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites.

  • Ariane 5 has delivered two telecom satellites, SGDC and Koreasat-7, into their planned orbits.

  • With more than 750 000 pieces of dangerous debris now orbiting Earth, the urgent need for coordinated international action to ensure the long-term sustainability of spaceflight is a major finding from Europe’s largest-ever conference on space debris.

  • Join us Friday, 19 May, at 10:00 CEST for the ‘Earth from Space’ video programme

  • Operations image of the week: On this day in 1968, Europe’s ESRO-2B satellite became the first mission controlled from what is today ESA’s European Space Operations Centre

  • Space Science image of the Week: ESA’s XMM-Newton detects X-ray sources sky-wide as it moves between targets

  • Watch the replays of the "Paradigm shifts and future prospects in Earth observation" seminar

NExSS Events Calendar

 

3rd Workshop on Extremely Precise Radial Velocities (EPRV)

 

Recent Videos

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