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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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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 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.

  • In response to U.S. President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request, The Planetary Society issued statements from Bill Nye, CEO, and Casey Dreier, director of space policy.

  • Ewen Whitaker was one of the founding members of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, one of the world's first research institutions dedicated to studying the moon and planets.

  • Get larger image formats In Arthur C. Clarke's novel "2001: A Space Odyssey," astronaut David Bowman exclaims, "My God, it's full of stars!" before he gets pulled into an alien-built wormhole in space. When the Hubble Space Telescope made its deepest views of the universe, astronomers might have well exclaimed: "My God, it's full of galaxies!" The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, for example, revealed 10,000 galaxies of various shapes, sizes, colors, and ages, all within an area roughly one-tenth the diameter of the full moon. What's mind-blowing is that these myriad galaxies, though plentiful, may represent merely 10 percent of the...

  • Get larger image formats Great balls of fire! The Hubble Space Telescope has detected superhot blobs of gas, each twice as massive as the planet Mars, being ejected near a dying star. The plasma balls are zooming so fast through space that they would travel from Earth to the moon in 30 minutes. This stellar "cannon fire" has continued once every 8.5 years for at least the past 400 years, astronomers estimate. The fireballs present a puzzle to astronomers because the ejected material could not have been shot out by the host star, called V Hydrae. The star is a bloated...

  • Get larger image formats New findings from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show suspected water plumes erupting from Jupiter's icy moon Europa. These observations bolster earlier Hubble work suggesting that Europa is venting water vapor. A team of astronomers, led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, observed these finger-like projections while viewing Europa's limb as the moon passed in front of Jupiter. The team was inspired to use this observing method by studies of atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars.

  • 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...

  • Fran Bagenal is a research scientist at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who is working on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Juno mission to Jupiter. Her main area of expertise is the study of charged particles trapped in planetary magnetic fields. She remembers a young Alan Stern walking into her office in 1989 and suggesting a mission to Pluto. “Whatever units you use – Kelvin, Fahrenheit or Celsius – it’s bloody cold on Pluto!” I incant in my strongest English accent. I love giving public talks about Pluto. The audience is...

  • 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....

  • Next week, ESA’s ExoMars has just a single chance to get captured by Mars’ gravity. The spacecraft and the mission controllers who will make it so are ready for arrival.

  • This jumble of eroded blocks lies along the distinctive boundary between the Red Planet’s southern highlands and the northern lowlands, with remnants of ancient glaciers flowing around them.

  • As the ExoMars Schiaparelli module descends onto Mars on 19 October it will capture 15 images of the approaching surface. Scientists have simulated the view we can expect to see from the descent camera.

  • The ExoMars 2016 mission will enter orbit around the Red Planet on 19 October. At the same time, its Schiaparelli lander will descend to the surface. Representatives of traditional and social media are invited to attend a two-day event at ESA’s ESOC control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

  • ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and crew practise for the final Soyuz spacecraft exams before launch on 16 November

  • Replay of ExoMars media briefing on 20 October at ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany

  • The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has arrived in Mars orbit. Mission teams are analysing data recorded from the Schiaparelli lander

  • NASA invites artists for a special viewing of the 22-foot-high, gold-coated mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope on Nov. 3, 2016. The goal of this Artist Event is to allow artist attendees to set up their supplies for their artistic medium of choice right in front of the telescope itself, and be given time to create.

  • Media are invited to join NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Wednesday, Nov. 2, for an update about what’s in store for NASA’s next great observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, and a rare glimpse of the telescope’s mirrors.

  • In this photograph taken on Sept. 1, 2016, the James Webb Space Telescope Pathfinder structure has been configured for the Thermal Pathfinder Test at NASA Johnson Space Center's giant thermal vacuum chamber, called Chamber A. The Pathfinder is a test version of the structure that supports the telescope.

  • 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.

  • A team of scientists has begun work to develop a high-speed interferometer capable of assuring picometer-level stability, a feat not yet accomplished.

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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.