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
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Aug. 31, 2015 A suppression of strange quark production relative to up and down quark production had previously been noted; for the first time, the result has been verified when a single ... read more
Aug. 27, 2015 Astronomers have performed an extensive search for Dust Obscured Galaxies (DOGs). The research group discovered 48 DOGs, and has measured how common they are. Since DOGs are ... read more
Aug. 26, 2015 For astronauts living in space with objects zooming around them at 22,000 miles per hour like rogue super-bullets, it's good to have a backup plan. Although shields and fancy maneuvers could help ... read more
Aug. 26, 2015 New research predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere ... read more
Aug. 26, 2015 The shimmering colours visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula. The new image highlights the nebula's ... read more
Aug. 26, 2015 Astrobiologists draw upon what is known about Earth's most extreme lifeforms and the environments of Mars and Titan, Saturn's moon, to paint a clearer picture of what life on ... 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