Fev 22, 2017

NASA to Unveil New Exoplanet Discovery

NASA is holding a news conference on Feb. 22 to discuss "new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets," according to a statement from the agency.

The news conference begins at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT). No other specifics about the "new findings" have been made public, but "details … are embargoed by the journal Nature" until 1 p.m. EST, according to the statement.

The news conference will feature five speakers: Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters; Michaël Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium; Sean Carey, manager of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena; Nikole Lewis, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore; and Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sara Seager is a leading exoplanet scientist who, among other things, is working on the problem of how to identify bio signatures in exoplanet atmospheres. The Space Telescope Science Institute is an astronomical research center as well as the mission operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope. 

SPACE.COM
By Calla Cofield, Space.com Staff Writer

Photo: This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of a star that is similar to our sun. 
Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle