in search of earth 2 .0

Australian T3 - - OPINION -

The Kepler Space Te­le­scope is per­form­ing an in­ter­stel­lar house hunt, look­ing for Earth-sized plan­ets in the “hab­it­able zone”, the sweet spot be­tween where the heat from a star is enough to melt ice but not so hot that it boils liq­uid.

The grand de­sign uses a 1.4-me­tre mir­ror te­le­scope at­tached to a one-tonne space­craft. In­for­ma­tion on all new po­ten­tial hab­it­able plan­ets is cap­tured us­ing a 95-megapixel cam­era, cooled by heat pipes con­nected to an ex­ter­nal ra­di­a­tor, and sent back to NASA. The cam­era col­lects far more data than it can send back, too, so NASA sci­en­tists have to pre-se­lect the rel­e­vant pix­els.

At the time of writ­ing, Kepler’s search has iden­ti­fied 43 ex­o­plan­ets that the hu­man race could call home, the clos­est a mere 17 light years away.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.