Latest Terrestrial Planet Finder Stories

2005-03-23 00:10:00

JPL -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured the light from two known planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The findings mark the beginning of a new age of planetary science, in which "extrasolar" planets can be directly measured and compared. "Spitzer has provided us with a powerful new tool for learning about the temperatures, atmospheres and orbits of planets hundreds of light-years from Earth," said Dr. Drake Deming of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,...

2005-02-08 07:30:00

Princeton -- Some extrasolar planets may be made substantially from carbon compounds, including diamond, according to a report presented this week at the conference on extrasolar planets in Aspen, Colorado. Earth, Mars and Venus are "silicate planets" consisting mostly of silicon-oxygen compounds. Astrophysicists are proposing that some stars in our galaxy may host "carbon planets" instead. "Carbon planets could form in much the same way as do certain meteorites in our solar system, the...

2005-01-27 07:11:48

USNO -- A team of astronomers from the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have successfully used the ultra high-resolution capability of the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI) to track the orbit of a binary star invisible to other ground- and space-based optical telescopes. These findings are being presented at the American Astronomical Society's 205th meeting in San Diego, California by Dr. Robert Zavala from...

2004-12-13 07:05:00

NASA -- Under a velvet black dome studded with sparkling stars, a lone figure glides gracefully, tilting and whirling across a shining floor. Instead of music, however, there's the slight hiss of compressed air. Standing about waist high and weighing a chunky 318 kilograms (700 pounds), the rotund robot looks more like something from "Star Wars" than "Shall We Dance?" Yet, as it floats on a paper-thin cushion of air, it is testing the initial moves in a complex choreography that researchers...

2003-11-04 06:00:00

Jet Propulsion Laboratory -- Recipe: Take a rocky mass [about 12.8 thousand kilometers (nearly 8 thousand miles) wide], add carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane. Place in stable, circular orbit, the same distance from a sunlike star as the distance between Earth and the Sun. Heat to an average of 10 degree Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 billion years. Over the next few years, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory plan to cook up a series of planets based on recipes like...

Latest Terrestrial Planet Finder Reference Libraries

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...

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
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.