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The Team

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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FAQs

What is NExSS? Why and how was it created? What are the scientific goals associated with NExSS? How can I join the NExSS community? Discover answers to these frequently asked questions and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Around the Web

  • The first catalogue of more than a billion stars from ESA’s Gaia satellite was published today – the largest all-sky survey of celestial objects to date.

  • A transatlantic flight delivered four Galileo satellites to French Guiana on Tuesday, in preparation for a shared launch this November by Ariane 5 – the first for Europe’s satnav constellation.

  • Less than a month before the end of the mission, Rosetta’s high-resolution camera has revealed the Philae lander wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

  • Watch replay of ESA Hangout with mission experts ahead of Rosetta’s grand #CometLanding finale

  • ESA's next astronaut mission will be launched in November

  • A few weeks before the first Juno high resolution imaging, I decided to take a look at Voyager color images at various resolutions, with particular attention to high-resolution mosaics.

  • The Planetary Society, the world’s largest non-profit space interest organization, announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Britney Schmidt, assistant professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, and actor Robert Picardo.

  • Get larger image formats Two is company, but three might not always be a crowd, at least in space. When astronomers found an extrasolar planet orbiting a neighboring star, a detailed analysis of the data uncovered a third body. But astronomers couldn't definitively identify whether the object was another planet or another star in the system.

  • Get larger image formats Dr. Nancy A. Levenson has been appointed Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. The Institute is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Telescope (JWST) that is scheduled to launch in 2018.

  • Get larger image formats The galaxies in the early universe were much smaller than our Milky Way and churned out stars at a rapid pace. They grew larger through mergers with other dwarf galaxies to eventually build the magnificent spiral and elliptical galaxies we see around us today. But astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have looked at two small galaxies that were left off the star party list. For many billions of years Pisces A and Pisces B lived in a vast intergalactic wilderness that was devoid of gas, which fuels star formation. They got left out in the cold.

  • Get larger image formats Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the TV series "Star Trek" has captured the public's imagination with the signature phrase, "To boldly go where no one has gone before." The Hubble Space Telescope simply orbits Earth and doesn't "boldly go" deep into space. But it looks deeper into the universe than ever before possible to explore the fabric of time and space and find the farthest objects ever seen. This is epitomized in this Hubble image that is part of its Frontier Fields program to probe the far universe. This view of a massive cluster of galaxies...

  • Get larger image formats The possibility of life on other worlds has fueled humankind's imagination for centuries. Over the past 20 years, the explosion of discoveries of planets orbiting other stars has sparked the search for worlds like Earth that could sustain life. Most of those candidates were found with other telescopes, including NASA's Kepler space observatory. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has also made some unique contributions to the planet hunt. Astronomers used Hubble, for example, to make the first measurements of the atmospheric composition of extrasolar planets.

  • Get larger image formats A team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona has directly imaged with the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope the first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system. The orbit of such a planet had been expected to be unstable, probably resulting in the planet being quickly ejected from the system. But somehow this one survives. This observation of the HD 131399 system suggests that such systems may actually be more common than previously thought. The results will be published online in the journal Science on July 7, 2016. The...

  • Get larger image formats At the center of the Crab Nebula, located in the constellation Taurus, lies a celestial "beating heart" that is an example of extreme physics in space. The tiny object blasts out blistering pulses of radiation 30 times a second with unbelievable clock-like precision. Astronomers soon figured out that it was the crushed core of an exploded star, called a neutron star, which wildly spins like a blender on puree. The burned-out stellar core can do this without flying apart because it is 10 billion times stronger than steel. This incredible density means that the mass of 1.4...

  • Get larger image formats Astronomers are using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras stunning light shows in a planet's atmosphere on the poles of the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. The auroras were photographed during a series of Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph far-ultraviolet-light observations taking place as NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches and enters into orbit around Jupiter. The aim of the program is to determine how Jupiter's auroras respond to changing conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted from the sun. Auroras are formed when charged particles in the space...

  • Earlier the week we received our conjunction report that lists satellites that will pass close to SDO. Our inclined geosynchronous orbit means there aren't a lot of satellites near SDO, but every couple of months one will come within 20 km (12 mi) of our spacecraft. This week saw the return of Telstar 401 to our list (see the picture at left.) Telstar 401 is a large telecommunications satellite that failed January 11, 1997, and has since drifted around the geostationary belt of satellites. This is not a small satellite, the solar panels stretch about 60 ft across. It's good...

  • While watching the transit of Mercury across the Sun on May 9, 2016, at http://mercurytransit.gsfc.nasa.gov we will sometimes see that Mercury is not black but glows a little. We also saw this during the transit of Venus in 2012, especially when Venus entered and left the disk of the Sun. We use these “bright planets” to study the telescopes on AIA. Most of the light from the Sun is visible wavelengths. By most I mean sunlight at visible wavelengths is 1 million times brighter than the ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet wavelengths measured by AIA and EVE. Those instruments use filters...

  • Today’s post is written by Alex Parker, a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, working on NASA’s New Horizons mission. Pluto and its moons are the most distant worlds ever visited by any of humanity’s robotic explorers, but for how much longer will that remain true? New Horizons is outbound through the Kuiper Belt, and two years ago today we discovered a smaller, more distant world that we could send it to. Likely an icy relic left behind from the era of planet formation, this world lies nearly a billion miles further from the sun than Pluto....

  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has a giant custom-built, kite-shaped sunshield driven by mechanics that will fold and unfold with a harmonious synchronicity 1 million miles from Earth.

  • A newly discovered, roughly Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star might be habitable.

  • The shiny silver material of the five-layer sunshield that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is a complex and innovative feat of material science and engineering.

  • With surgical precision, two dozen engineers and technicians successfully installed the package of science instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope into the telescope structure.

  • Inside the clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the golden James Webb Space Telescope is viewed from overhead with its secondary mirror booms stowed. In the next few months, engineers will install other key elements, and take additional measurements to ensure the telescope is ready for space.

  • NASA engineers recently unveiled the giant golden mirror of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope as part of the integration and testing of the infrared telescope.

  • Engineers have constructed a full-scale, flight-like test model, or twin, of the core of James Webb Space Telescope to test its ability to regulate its core body temperature to the correct specifications.

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This website is being run by Knowinnovation Inc. and is supported by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). LPI is operated by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) under a cooperative agreement with NASA. The purpose of this site is to facilitate communication from and between scientists that are part of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS). Although NExSS is led by researchers whose funding comes from NASA, NExSS is a community endeavor. As such, any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.