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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.

Meet the Team

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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The general Astro2020 Decadal Survey is now calling for white papers.

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Three Plausible Dynamical Histories for Exoplanetary Systems (Rebekah Dawson, PI)

We investigate whether the exoplanets we observe formed where we see them today, or if they formed further away from their stars and migrated inwards. Using simulations, we recreate the observed orbital configurations of specific exoplanetary systems through three different dynamical histories, two of which are consistent with in situ formation. We determine that all three dynamical histories are plausible for these systems, and by extension, for all known exoplanetary systems.

MacDonald, M. G. & Dawson, R. I. 2018, The Astronomical Journal, 156, 228,

The orbital evolution from simulations of the exoplanetary system Kepler-223. The planets in this system have been assumed to have formed farther from their star than we observe them today, migrating inwards through time. We show results from the three different dynamical histories we test in each of the rows of the panels. In the first column, we show the progression of the planets' orbital periods. In the second column, we show an angle which describes the orbital configuration of the system. The confined libration (oscillation) of this angle means the planets have locked into their observed orbital configuration. Funding source: NASA XRP 80NSSC18K0355

Pale Blue Reflections: Investigating the Atmospheres of Earth Analogs with Future Space Imaging Missions (Jonathan Fortney, PI)

We have created a retrieval framework for future space-based direct imaging missions to constrain properties of Earth-like planets. We simulate albedo spectra of Earth that WFIRST, HabEx, and LUVOIR may measure. With inverse modeling, we can determine our ability to measure important quantities related to habitability. To detect atmospheric water vapor, molecular oxygen, and ozone abundance, we need data at spectral resolution of 70 and signal-to-noise ratio of 20; to constrain these abundances, we need data at resolution of 140, signal-to-noise ratio of 20.

Feng, Y. K., Robinson, T. D., Fortney, J. J., et al. 2018, The Astronomical Journal, 155, 200.

Funding source: Optimizing WFIRST Coronagraph Science NASA Proposal id.15-WFIRST15-7

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