Finding other Earths

Referencing a new paper on the subject, Centauri Dreams makes a case for a space-borne telescope to find exoplanets, most of which have turned out thus far to be "hot Jupiters," or "roasters," large gas-like planets orbiting close to their parent stars.

Not the kind of places where life is likely to exist.

Briefly describing other current and planned planet hunting efforts, he points out that a NASA team has proposed putting a two-meter scope with the latest technology in Earth orbit to make it easier to take exoplanet imagery. Paul Gilster:

I save the best for last. The researchers believe their instrument may have the ability to detect Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of five to ten of the brightest, nearest stars. Studying their photons would allow a basic spectral characterization, doubtless motivating intense studies by later, more powerful instruments (and, of course, tuning their target lists).

The paper Paul references is here.

In case you were wondering, the current catalog of exoplanets stands at over two hundred bodies orbiting other stars.


Wikipedia: exoplanets