December 7, 2015
Topic: Arts & Culture
The number of known planets beyond out solar system has exploded in the last 20 years. Recently, this has included the discovery of a handful of potentially habitable worlds.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman, researcher with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will examine this in his Smith Lecture, “Is the Universe a Lonely Place? A Plan to Survey our Stellar Neighborhood for Signs of Life.” It is scheduled for 3:30-4:30 p.m. Friday in Room 1528 in the Clarence Cook Little Building.
To search these planets for signs of inhabitance will require a mission that is designed with exoplanet characterization in mind. That characterization will take place via anaylsis of spectra from exoplanets, which will yield inferences on the composition of and mass fluxes from the planet’s surface.
Such a mission would face three sets of challenges in technology, community dynamics and science. In his presentation, Domagal-Goldman will discuss how future space-based telescopes can overcome the technical challenges and more.