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Life in the Milky Way: Panel Discussion. Wesley A. Traub Chief Scientist, NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Ozma 50 Workshop, Green Bank, West Virginia 13 Sept. 2010. Our Big Questions for Exoplanets.

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Life in the milky way panel discussion

Life in the Milky Way:Panel Discussion

Wesley A. Traub

Chief Scientist, NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program

Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

California Institute of Technology

Ozma 50 Workshop,

Green Bank, West Virginia

13 Sept. 2010


Our big questions for exoplanets
Our Big Questions for Exoplanets

  • What kind of signs of life should we be looking for?

  • Where and how should we look?

  • What is our strategy for finding signs of life beyond the Solar System?

  • Strategies for answering these might come from this meeting.

  • Meanwhile, here are the search methods we are using or considering:

    • Radial velocity mass, orbit (~400 discovered)

    • Transits radius, orbit (~700 discovered)

    • Gravitational lensing mass, orbit (snapshot) (~handful)

    • Astrometry mass, orbit (none yet)

    • Nulling exozodiacal brightness

    • Direct imaging brightness, orbit, (~5 discovered);

  • also atmosphere, surface, rotation,

    • temperature, water, oxygen, ozone,

    • carbon dioxide, red edge (land plants),

    • i.e., signs of life.

Traub


Three direct images to date
Three Direct Images To Date

Ref.: Fomalhaut, Kalas et al., 2009

HR8799, Marois et al., 2009

also Serabyn & Mawet 2010

Beta Pic, Lagrange et al., 2010

Traub


Exoplanet prospects near and far
Exoplanet prospects, near and far

SIM Lite astrometry

5 to 25 pc distant

~70 to 2100 stars

3 to 7 mag

100% of sky

Expect 70 Earths (1/star)

+

TPF-C/O/I direct imaging

Color & spectrum all planets

Signs of life

PLATO transits/seismology

100-400 pc distant

250,000 stars

10 to 13 mag

8% of sky

Expect 400 Earths (1/star)

CoRoT transits/seismology

400 to 2000 pc distant

~40,000 stars

13 to 15 mag

0.01% of sky

Kepler transits/seismology

500 to 2000 pc distant

156,000 stars

14 to 16 mag

0.24% of sky

Expect 400 Earths (1/star)

WFIRST gravitational microlensing

1000 to 10,000 pc distant


Prospects for finding and characterizing exoplanets
Prospects for finding and characterizing exoplanets

  • Current missions: CoRoT and Kepler for transits

    - Telling us frequency of terrestrial planets, from close-in to habitable zones

  • Also: Spitzer (warm) and HST

    - Giving us transit visible and infrared spectra of giant planets

  • Planned missions: JWST

    - Possible transit spectra of super-Earth planets

  • Recommended mission: WFIRST for exoplanets (and dark energy)

    - Gravitational lensing gives mass and snapshot of orbit

  • Future possibility: Exoplanet mission

    - To be decided around mid-decade, and launched in 2020s,

    could be coronagraph imager for exoplanet discovery and characterization

Traub


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