tirsdag, februar 08, 2011

NASA's Big Score: The Earthy Worlds

NASA announced last week that its Kepler orbiting observatory has discovered 1,235 planets outside our solar system.

By calculating the size of stars and the estimated size of the orbiting planets, NASA has narrowed down this list to 54 earth-like planets that could potentially sustain life. It will take years for scientists to analyze these 54 prime targets for far-future missions.

At an unusual press conference on Saturday, NASA scientist Cal Hulby and veteran mission astronaut AJ Tucker took the step of offering hypothetical descriptions of six of those planets in detail for members of the press. We offer those descriptions without comment.