Is the earth unique? Or is there life somewhere else out there in space? The NASA built space telescope Kepler was designed to give us some initial answers to these questions. The flying telescope was launched in 2009 and until summer of 2013, when it became clear that a defect in two of Kepler's reaction wheels was irreparable, rendering it unsuitable for the task of searching for planets.
The sudden end to the mission was a shock for planetary researchers given its tremendous success until that point. Kepler found 135 earth-like planets. Only a fraction of the data has been analyzed so far. We talk to scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research who are looking at the data and searching for habitable planets outside our solar system.
Reuters (Sep. 12, 2012) A team of scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Torun are using four remotely controlled telescopes placed around the globe to search for circumbinary systems - multiple transiting ... watch video
Aug. 3, 2015 A mile-long asteroid that raced past Earth July 25 at about 45,000 miles per hour – at a safe distance of 4.5 million miles – was imaged by radar telescopes so that astronomers could discern its ... read more
July 30, 2015 Some of the most breathtaking views in the Universe are created by nebulae -- hot, glowing clouds of gas. This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the center of ... read more
July 30, 2015 Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko poses new riddles: Surface material measurements performed by the Philae landing module indicate that the near surface material might have changed ... read more
July 29, 2015 The merger of two black holes is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. The first observatories capable of directly detecting gravitational waves -- ... read more
July 29, 2015 Physicists have revealed a new understanding of nucleosynthesis in stars, providing insight into the role massive stars play in the evolution of the Milky Way and the origins ... read more
Feb. 4, 2015 Planetary scientists have calculated that there are hundreds of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy which might support life, by applying a 200 year old idea to the thousands of exo-planets ... read more
Apr. 18, 2013 New research has perhaps the smallest super-earth planet in its host star habitable zone. Kepler 62f is a small, probably rocky planet orbiting a sun-like star in the Lyra constellation. The planet ... read more
Apr. 18, 2013 A team of scientists has discovered two Earth-like planets in the habitable orbit of a Sun-like star. Using observations gathered by NASA's Kepler Mission, the team found five planets orbiting a ... read more
Aug. 23, 2012 Two newly submitted studies verify 41 new transiting planets in 20 star systems. These results may increase the number of Kepler's confirmed planets by more than 50 percent: to 116 planets ... read more