NASA To Announce “Discovery Beyond Our Solar System”

Published February 21, 2017
Published February 21, 2017

Not much is known, but it most likely has to do with finding a habitable planet in a solar system different than ours.

Kepler 452b2

NASADiscovered last year, Kepler-452b, recreated above, is the smallest planet to date that NASA has found orbiting in a star’s habitable zone.

On Monday NASA announced that it will soon hold a news conference to discuss a “discovery beyond our solar system.”

While details are scarce, the release states that the conference will begin at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, and panelists will offer new information about exoplanets, which are planets in different solar systems than ours.

Whatever NASA’s findings, they have already been peer-reviewed and submitted to the scientific journal Nature, which has agreed to embargo the report until the conference starts.

The news release does not reveal much more than that, but it does list the astronomers presenting the details of the assumed discovery.

This includes Michael Gillon, an exoplanet expert and an astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium; Sara Seager, the MIT professor specializing in exoplanets that came up with the Seager Equation, which estimates how many habitable planets there are in the galaxy; and Nikole Lewis, an expert in exoplanet atmospheres and an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Lewis, who is active on Twitter, recently tweeted about “good news” with someone who knows something about the upcoming announcement. Take that as you will, but it seems the scientists privy to what is taking place behind the scenes are excited about whatever NASA will disclose at the briefing.

They have reason to be. A major revelation about exoplanets is significant, as the ones mimicking Earth’s conditions offer potential for the spread of human life throughout the galaxy.

If you watch along during tomorrow’s news conference and are confused about anything, NASA will answer questions during the briefing with the #askNASA hashtag on Twitter. They will also hold a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) following the news conference to explain more about exoplanets at 3 p.m.

Next, check out how NASA scientists have discovered mysterious life forms hibernating inside giant Mexican cave crystals, before finding out how the dwarf planet Ceres may have vanishing ice volcanoes.

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