Saturday, September 24, 2011

Become a Planet Hunter and Help Find the Next Exoplanet!

Want to help find exoplanets, but don't have access to major observatory or space telescope? Despair not, for anyone can join the Planet Hunters for free and begin helping professional astronomers wade through all the data pouring in from the Kepler spacecraft. Two exoplanet candidates have already been discovered by Planet Hunter members.

Visit Planet Hunters at: http://www.planethunters.org/
For more information visit the Astrobiology Magazine 24 September 2011 Press Release, "How You Can Find an ExoPlanet,"  and, of course, the Planet Hunters' Web site. 

References:

"How You Can Find an ExoPlanet." News. Astrobiology Magazine. Ed. Helen Matsos. NASA. 24 Sept. 2011. Web. 24 Sept. 2011. < http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/4234/how-you-can-find-an-exoplanet >

Planet Hunters. n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2011. < http://www.planethunters.org/ >

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why explore space?

We will go back to the moon. We will send humans to Mars. We will explore asteroids. We will continue the search for exoplanets, especially for those capable of harboring life. Human beings, generally speaking, are explorers. Holed up, static, we deteriorate. Pushing boundaries, dynamic, we innovate. How many great spin-offs from space exploration do we enjoy in our daily lives? How many important spin-offs from space exploration has extended or saved lives? Going back to the Moon, going to Mars, and out beyond, as well as searching for exoplanets, will make breakthrough discoveries that better serve mankind.

Exploring space is an endeavor that brings peoples together. It is an endeavor that benefits our economies. It is an endeavor that lifts our spirits, excites our imaginations, stirs our souls. It is worshiping the works of God. Humans will return to the Moon, go to Mars, explore the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and discover new worlds outside our solar system (even if we can only explore them passively from afar). We will do it with robots, small and large; we will do it with astronauts; and to some extent we will do it even, later on, with citizen explorers. We need to look outward from ourselves, and look back to see ourselves in perspective. We will As T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem “Little Gidding”:

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
We need to explore, to learn. Moon –> Mars –> and Beyond.