Institute of Astronomy

The search for Earth 2.0

SpeakerTalk DateWeekly Handout
Sara Seager 3 December 2014
Additional Information
Group:Cambridge Gates scholars
Number of Visitors:155

Talk Summary

Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars other than the sun. Thousands of exoplanets are known to exist and motivate the prime goal to find and identify a planet like Earth—an “Earth 2.0.” Two recent factors make this goal achievable in the near term. First, astronomers have now ascertained, statistically speaking, that every star in our Milky Way Galaxy should have at least one planet and that small rocky planets are extremely common. Second, engineers have matured the required technology for the sophisticated space telescopes capable of discovering Earth-like exoplanets. For the first time in human history we therefore say with certainty that we are on the verge of being able to search for signs of life beyond our solar system on planets orbiting the nearest hundreds of stars.



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