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Latest Terrestrial Planet Finder Stories

1d53e5661840ddf4ada3c0d8af4a195c1
2009-04-15 10:25:00

Earthshine "“ sunlight reflected from the Earth toward the Moon "“ may provide a way for researchers to seek out oceans on other planets, according to researchers. Last week, researchers from the University of Melbourne and Princeton University reported finding that the difference in reflection of light from the Earth's landmasses and oceans can be seen on the dark side of the moon. Sally Langford, from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics, said the brightness being...

979b151643cfd9cf4749cbe9fde78f7a1
2007-05-10 10:15:00

Science fiction may soon become science fact. Astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have recently concluded that the upcoming planet-finding mission, SIM PlanetQuest, would be able to detect an Earth-like planet around the star 40 Eridani, a planet familiar to "Star Trek" fans as "Vulcan." 40 Eridani, a triple-star system 16 light-years from Earth, includes a red-orange K dwarf star slightly smaller and cooler than our sun. Vulcan is thought to orbit that dwarf star, called 40...

50273b3577ca128208365975ad40e2bc1
2007-04-11 16:23:03

For the first time ever, NASA researchers have successfully demonstrated in the laboratory that a space telescope rigged with special masks and mirrors could snap a photo of an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. This accomplishment marks a dramatic step forward for missions like the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder, designed to hunt for an Earth twin that might harbor life. Trying to image an exoplanet - a planet orbiting a star other than the sun - is a daunting task, because its...

e014282df8ed692c99036f846c8077f41
2007-02-10 10:25:00

Beth A. Biller is part of an international team of astronomers trying to tease out images of planets around young stars by removing the distortions caused by Earth's atmosphere. Working in collaboration with scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she is also helping to validate key technologies for Terrestrial Planet Finder, a future mission designed to observe and characterize habitable planets around nearby stars. Extrasolar planets are extremely faint targets to begin with, and...

15fe36856223560261dbdb4e03d12e411
2006-10-19 08:04:11

More than a decade after the first planets beyond our solar system were found, astronomers have discovered about 200 of these "extrasolar planets," as they're called. Using a common-sense definition of potentially habitable planets, coupled with extensive computer simulations, scientists have calculated how many potentially habitable planets might be detected around other stars by the SIM PlanetQuest mission. ("SIM" stands for Space Interferometry Mission.) The mission, scheduled for a...

e6da111d77442e61e637b2b3fb5a97041
2006-10-12 09:35:47

A Conversation with Navigator Chief Scientist Wesley Traub Where are the other Earths? Answering that question is just the first step in NASA's long-range quest to look for life around stars beyond our solar system, according to Dr. Wesley Traub. And to answer it, he says, we have to go into space. Traub was recently named chief scientist for the Navigator Program, a series of interrelated missions that will discover and characterize nearby planetary systems. The program will kick into high...

ddf85b03e7e8dd9ba49c27d6f8a6520a1
2006-02-28 18:58:21

Arizona -- "Some people say that I study darkness, not optics," jokes Grover Swartzlander. But it's a kind of darkness that will allow astronomers to see the light. Swartzlander, an associate professor in The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, is developing devices that block out dazzling starlight, allowing astronomers to study planets in nearby solar systems. The devices also may prove valuable to optical microscopy and be used to protect camera and imaging systems from...

c01c77cef869750862ca11c1819c597b1
2005-09-29 18:46:39

JPL -- Are we alone in the universe? Are there planets like Earth around other "suns" that might harbor life?  Thanks to a recent technology breakthrough on a key NASA planet-finding project, the dream of answering those questions is no longer light-years away. On a crystal clear, star-filled night at Hawaii's Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, NASA engineers successfully suppressed the blinding light of three stars, including the well-known Vega, by 100 times.  This breakthrough...

baf08c714ffcb92d3263d9be777d4d681
2005-05-24 07:25:00

The most detailed measurements to date of the dusty disks around young stars confirm a new theory that the region where rocky planets such as Earth form is much farther away from the star than originally thought. These first definitive measurements of planet-forming zones offer important clues to the initial conditions that give birth to planets. Astrobiology Magazine -- The most detailed measurements to date of the dusty disks around young stars confirm a new theory that the region where...

b2c4fbd902024b8fc95cb984777098f51
2005-04-28 07:25:00

Looking for biosignatures that would be characteristic of intelligent life is not always about extrapolating the most intelligent things a species might be doing. For instance, would one look for pollutants in the atmosphere? Carnegie Institutions' Maggie Turnbull answers that and other questions from colleagues following her lecture, "Remote Sensing of Life and Habitable Worlds". Astrobiology Magazine -- Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years...


Latest Terrestrial Planet Finder Reference Libraries

7_a23a0395183f2368aec4b62e1b9470672
2004-10-19 04:45:43

Terrestrial Planet Finder -- The Terrestrial Planet Finder is a proposed NASA telescope system capable of detecting extrasolar terrestrial planets. In May 2002, NASA chose two TPF mission architecture concepts for further study and technology development. Each would use a different means to achieve the same goal - to block the light from a parent star in order to see its much smaller, dimmer planets. That technology challenge has been likened to finding a firefly near the beam of...

6_ca87660286bca43fbd7e3f90543baaa72
2004-10-19 04:45:42

Terrestrial Planet -- A terrestrial planet is a planet that is mostly composed of silicate rocks and may or may not have a relatively thin atmosphere. The term is derived from the Greek word for Earth, so an alternate definition would be those planets that are more Earth-like than not. Terrestrial planets are very different from gas giants, which may or may not have solid surfaces and are composed mostly of hydrogen and helium in various physical states. Only one terrestrial planet,...

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Word of the Day
bodacious
  • Remarkable; prodigious.
  • Audacious; gutsy.
  • Completely; extremely.
  • Audaciously; boldly.
  • Impressively great in size; enormous; extraordinary.
This word is probably from the dialectal 'boldacious,' a blend of 'bold' and 'audacious.'
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