NASA is about to announce something big about worlds beyond our solar system.
That’s via a recent post on the space agency’s website, which states that “NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 22, to present new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets.”
If you’re wondering, “did they find aliens?”, don’t count on it. Widely publicized NASA press events like this tend to draw rampant and overblown speculation, and some insider sleuthing suggests this one will be squarely focused on extrasolar planets.
However, NASA did tap several planetary scientists and astronomers for the live event who are working hard to find worlds that might be habitable to life.
One of them is Michaël Gillon, an astronomer at the Université de Liège in Belgium. Gillon was part of a team that, in 2016, announced the discovery of three Earth-size planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a red dwarf star that is much smaller and cooler than the sun.
Another attendee is Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT who’s leading NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. Scheduled to launch in March 2018 on one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, TESS will cover 400 times more sky than the planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope — a mission that found thousands of planets, dozens of them possibly Earth-like.
According to the release and NASA TV’s latest schedule, the live video feed below on YouTube should show the press conference starting at or shortly after 1 p.m. ET:
You can also watch the Ustream feed below or directly on NASA’s website:
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