NExSS Coalition Searches for Habitable Planets and Life Beyond Earth

Groundbreaking collaboration between sciences explores planetary zoo for candidates with the ingredients for life

The search for life beyond our solar system requires unprecedented cooperation across scientific disciplines. NASA's NExSS collaboration includes those who study Earth as a life-bearing planet (lower right), those researching the diversity of solar system planets (left), and those on the new frontier, discovering worlds orbiting other stars in the galaxy (upper right). Credits: NASA
The search for life beyond our solar system requires unprecedented cooperation across scientific disciplines. NASA’s NExSS collaboration includes those who study Earth as a life-bearing planet (lower right), those researching the diversity of solar system planets (left), and those on the new frontier, discovering worlds orbiting other stars in the galaxy (upper right).
Credits: NASA

Space news (June 06, 2015) – The human search for life beyond Earth reaches for new horizons this week with the announcement NASA’s bringing together space scientists spanning a variety of scientific fields to form Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS).

Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) brings together top research teams in Earth and planetary science and Helio and Astrophysics in an effort to determine the habitability of exoplanets discovered during the human journey to the beginning of space and time.

“This interdisciplinary endeavor connects top research teams and provides a synthesized approach in the search for planets with the greatest potential for signs of life,” says Jim Green, NASA’s Director of Planetary Science. “The hunt for exoplanets is not only a priority for astronomers, it’s of keen interest to planetary and climate scientists as well.”

Since the beginning of NASA’s Kepler Space Mission six years ago planet hunters have discovered 1852 exoplanets. Currently, there are another 4661 candidates detected by the Kepler Space Telescope, being examined closely for evidence to prove the existence of life beyond Earth. NExSS space scientists will develop techniques to confirm the habitability of these exoplanets by searching for ‘signs of life’.

Earth and planetary scientists, Heliophysicists and Astrophysicists use a “System Science” approach to better understand the ‘signs of life’ they need to look for on exoplanets discovered. They want to understand how life-on-Earth interacts with the atmosphere, geology, oceans and interior of the planet, and how this is affected by our sun. In an effort to develop better techniques to detect life on distant planets.

Dr. Paul Hertz, Director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA notes, “NExSS scientists will not only apply a systems science approach to existing exoplanet data, their work will provide a foundation for interpreting observations of exoplanets from future exoplanet missions such as TESS, JWST, and WFIRST.” The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is working toward a 2017 launch, with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) scheduled for launch in 2018. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is currently being studied by NASA for a launch in the 2020’s.

The search for life goes on

NExSS is led by Natalie Batalha of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Dawn Gelino of NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute, and Anthony del Genio of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. They’ll lead team members from ten universities and two research institutes as they search for exoplanets with signs of life.

Humans have searched for signs of life in the night sky for thousands of years and some claim to have met and interacted with extraterrestrial beings during this time.

Now, humans desire to meet and communicate with beings from another world, and NExSS is the next step towards finding the answer to the eternal question.

Are we alone in the universe?

To learn more about NExSS and the search for life visit here.

You can learn more about NASA’s space mission to the stars here.

Learn more about planets in four star systems

Read about NASA reaching out to private and business concerns to help enable the human desire to travel to Mars and beyond.

Learn how to calculate the orbits of asteroids within the Main Asteroid Belt.

The Planetary Zoo is Expanding Accommodations for New Arrivals

Astronomers have put some amazing and weird planets in the Planetary Zoo
What would life be like on a planet with such a weird orbit?

“Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” to view the planetary zoo

Looking for a new place to live?

Astronomy takes you to the far stretches of the universe in search of answers to the questions we all ask ourselves

Astronomy News – Space scientists looking at the rapidly expanding menagerie of planets being added to the planetary zoo keep coming back from their journey wide-eyed and smiling like a kid that just got the key to the candy store. The latest editions to the planetary zoo are orbiting celestial bodies in orbits totally out-of-whack with the orbits of planets previously viewed in the universe. In fact, astronomers are bringing planets to be housed in the planetary zoo, of late, that are so different space scientists are having to rethink present theories on exoplanets circling distant suns in the Milky Way.
 
Astronomers studying three known Jupiter-size exoplanets circling dwarf star Upsilon Andromeda A, which lies about 44 light-years from Earth, have determined these exo-planets are circling in orbits unlike any seen before by Earth astronomers. Orbiting at steep angles to one another, these three planets could have exotic environments and global systems, unlike anything humans can imagine. The possibilities of life existing in star systems with such potential for chaos is going to entice the imaginations of science fiction writers across the planet to create realities and scenarios sure to entertain and create fear in the human heart.
 

Astronomers studying planets are discovering things we never even guessed at

 
The theories of space scientists concerning the formation of planetary systems will have to be altered with the arrival of these new and unexpected members of the planetary zoo. The possible scenarios for the formation of planetary systems will have to be changed to include the possibility for the formation of exoplanets of this type. Possibilities that will now include the inward migration of planets orbiting distant stars, the ejection of planets from a system due to planet scattering, or the disruption of the planetary system due to gravitational interaction with Upsilon Andromedae A’s companion star, Upsilon Andromedae B.
One thing is for sure, the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” has taken a turn down a path that definitely isn’t heading to Kansas, Dorothy!
A journey to this system would be an unforgettable experience