July 14 - SETI Institute and NASA experts to map out pathway to detect potentially habitable planets
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—A panel of NASA experts will convene on Monday, July 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EDT to map out the technological and scientific pathway that will lead to the detection of potentially habitable exoplanets. The public can view the event on NASA Television or in the Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington, D.C.
The SETI Institute has been a major contributor to the search for exoplanets and investigation into the conditions that make them habitable since its inception almost 30 years ago. Many of our scientists are members of the Kepler team, working with observations from NASA's world-hunting telescope to find Earth-like worlds. Other Institute scientists research the conditions that led to habitability on Earth, looking at our own planet to learn about those many light-years away.
Studying the atmospheres of exoplanets, however, requires sensitive instruments and detailed data analysis. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (the Webb telescope) is the next large-scale space-based observatory that will take on this task. Planned for launch in 2018, this instrument will be capable of deep investigations into the details of exoplanets and what may lie beneath their cloud covers.
As NASA moves forward with the Webb telescope and other planet-detection and characterization projects, the SETI Institute will continue to research exoplanets and their habitability with NASA scientists and the astronomical community at large. The attempt to uncover and understand Earth-like worlds, toward which astronomy moves ever closer, and large telescope projects like the Webb move science forward into the future.