NASA Speaker Updates Search for New Earth-Like Planets
HAMPTON, Va. -- A NASA scientist knows what he is looking for and what he may find under or in the Milky Way tonight.
On Tuesday, June 8, at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, space scientist William Borucki will present "Kepler Space Mission: Progress in the Detection of Earth-size Planets in the Habitable Zone of Solar-like Stars" at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center. Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator, hopes to determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets.
Media who wish to interview Borucki at a news briefing at NASA Langley at 1:15 p.m., Tuesday should contact Chris Rink at 864-6786 or by e-mail at email@example.com by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the center.
On Tuesday evening, Borucki will present a similar talk for the general public at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. The evening presentation is free and no reservations are required.
Borucki will explain and update the Kepler Mission, a NASA effort to determine the frequency of Earth-like planets. Launched in March of 2009, Kepler is designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy for Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone of their stars -- the first step in discovering the extent of life in our galaxy.
Recent discoveries have shown that many stars have giant planets, but cannot detect Earth-size planets orbiting solar-like stars. The Kepler Mission is based on observing transits or images of planets against the stars and is designed specifically to determine the frequency of terrestrial planets. Through Kepler, scientists are now monitoring the brightness of 150,000 solar-like stars to detect patterns of transits that provide the size of the planet relative to the star and its orbital period.
Borucki works at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. He received a masters of science degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1962 and then moved to NASA Ames where he first worked on the development of the heat shield for the Apollo Missions.
After the successful Moon landings, he investigated lightning activity in planetary atmospheres and developed mathematical models to predict the effects of certain gases on the Earth's ozone layer.
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