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
Sep. 21, 2016 The puzzling appearance of an ice cloud seemingly out of thin air has prompted NASA scientists to suggest that a different process than previously thought -- possibly similar ... read more
Sep. 21, 2016 Plants will play a critical role in the survival of human beings on long-duration space missions, such as a mission to Mars. However, as a new paper shows, many challenges need to be addressed if ... read more
Sep. 21, 2016 A simple question from his wife -- Does physics really allow people to travel back in time? -- propelled a physicist on a quest to resolve a fundamental problem that had puzzled him throughout his ... read more
Sep. 21, 2016 An international team of researchers using ALMA and other telescopes has discovered the power source illuminating a so-called Lyman-alpha Blob -- a rare, brightly glowing, ... 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