Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: exoplanet

  • Microlensing ideal for finding Neptune-sized exoplanets, study shows

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 23rd, 2016

    Gravitational microlensing, one of several techniques used to search for exoplanets, is the ideal method for finding Neptune-sized planets in distant orbits around their stars, according to a study published in the Dec. 13, 2016, issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

  • The Genesis Project: Sending interstellar probes to seed life on exoplanets

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 11th, 2016

    German physicist Claudius Gros envisions an interstellar mission that could send microbial life to extrasolar planets that are not permanently uninhabitable. The proposed “Genesis Project” aims to send a fleet of robotic spacecraft equipped with onboard gene laboratories in order to bring life to distant planets with transient habitability.

  • Proxima b could be life-friendly, says co-discoverer

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 5th, 2016

    In late August, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) broke the news announcing the discovery of Proxima b, the closest exoplanet to Earth, fueling hopes of finding an Earth-like planet that could support life. Now, Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, and co-discoverer of Proxima b, suggests the newly found alien world could be one of the best currently-known extra-solar places to search for microbial organisms.

  • Earth-size planet discovered around nearest stellar neighbor

    Bart LeahyAugust 27th, 2016

    An international team of scientists working with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile has published a paper in the journal Nature reporting a rocky planet approximately 1.3 times the size of Earth has been detected orbiting Proxima Centauri, a small red dwarf star 4.25 light-years from Earth.

  • Proxima Centauri may host Earth-like planet

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 17th, 2016

    A rocky, Earth-like planet may be orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun, according to a report published in the German weekly newspaper Der Spiegel.

  • More than 100 exoplanets found by K2

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 23rd, 2016

    Astronomers utilizing NASA's Kepler spacecraft on its K2 mission have announced the discovery of more than 100 new exoplanets orbiting small, red dwarf stars.

  • Five new planets orbiting a distant bright star discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 12th, 2016

    A team of astronomers using the Kepler space telescope has recently detected five new exoplanets circling a bright star designated HIP 41378, which lies some 380 light-years away. The newly found alien worlds are larger than our planet, with sizes ranging from about 2.5 times the size of Earth to the size of Jupiter.

  • Kepler-223 system provides clues about planetary migration

    Jim SharkeyMay 20th, 2016

    At first, the four exoplanets that make up the planetary system Kepler-223 seemed to have little in common with the planets of our solar system. In a recent study, scientists using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope found that the two systems may have had more in common in the distant past.

  • Latest Kepler find more than doubles number of known exoplanets

    Jim SharkeyMay 11th, 2016

    Scientists with NASA's planet-hunting Kepler mission announced on Tuesday that they have verified 1,284 new exoplanets—the largest single finding to date. The newly verified planets were among 4,302 candidates in the Kepler space telescope's July 2015 catalog.

  • Super-Earth temperature map created from Spitzer data

    Laurel KornfeldApril 2nd, 2016

    Using data collected by NASA's recently upgraded Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists have created the first-ever temperature map of a super-Earth exoplanet. The exoplanet is considered a "super-Earth" because it is large and rocky with approximately eight times Earth's mass.

  • NASA selects team to build next-generation planet-finding instrument

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 30th, 2016

    Planet-hunting space telescopes may soon get a helping hand from Earth as NASA advances work on a next-generation instrument designed to search for alien worlds. On March 29, the agency announced the selection of a research team that will build a $10 million cutting-edge tool, named NEID.

  • Could DSCOVR help in the hunt for exoplanets?

    Tomasz NowakowskiNovember 25th, 2015

    Could a space weather satellite be helpful in exoplanet hunting? Well, it now turns out it could. According to a team of scientists led by Stephen Kane from the San Francisco State University, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), launched in February this year to study space weather, could make an important contribution to the continuous search for alien worlds.

  • Kepler sees a mini-planet die as Earth-like planets wait to be born

    Jim SharkeyOctober 22nd, 2015

    Researchers using NASA’s rebooted Kepler spacecraft, now known as the K2 mission, have discovered evidence of a small, rocky object being torn apart as it spirals around a white dwarf star. The finding supports a long-held theory that white dwarfs can vaporize possible remnant planets that have survived in its planetary system.

  • NASA’s Kepler mission discovers Earth’s larger, older cousin

    Jim SharkeyJuly 24th, 2015

    Scientists with NASA's Kepler mission announced on July 23, the confirmation of the first near-Earth-size planet in the "habitable zone" around its star.The newly discovered planet, Kepler-452b, is the smallest planet found to date that orbits a Sun-like star in the habitable zone, the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the planet's surface. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the number of confirmed planets to 1,030.

  • Kepler data helping home in on ‘other Earths’

    Joe LatrellJune 20th, 2015

    Astronomers have used data pulled from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to find a world about half the size and a tenth of the mass of Earth. Estimated to be roughly the size of the planet Mars, the world called Kepler-138b is the first exoplanet to be detected using a new method of planetary discovery that yields […]