Image Compliments of Astronomy Today
The NASA Kepler Space Telescope was launched in 2009 to peer at an area of space as big as a hand extended at arms length. It's mission was to detect possible planets orbiting their host star by a detecting minute drop in light intensity as the planet passed in front of the star. The mission was a resounding success resulting in the discovery of over 4,000 exoplanets, some of which are present within the habitable zones around their stars and therefore can possibly contain life.
Let's look at Kepler's record. Approximately 150,000 stars were evaluated and 4,000 exoplanets were discovered. Results of the Kepler missions have provided staggering implications. There are approximately 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone and there are far more planets than stars. At least 25% of these are Earth-sized planets that occupy the habitable zones of their stars. This means there are at least 25 billion planets on which life could possibly survive in the Milky Way Galaxy alone! When you consider there are Trillions of galaxies in the universe, the odds of life being present elsewhere are staggeringly good!
Now out of fuel, Kepler can no longer function and has been replaced by a new NASA telescope called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). This amazing telescope will pick up where Kepler left off.
As Image above compliments of seeker.com
How many new exoplanets will be discovered by TESS? The number could be staggering. As a planet hunter analyzing TESS light curves I am excited at the future possibilities.
Maddalena Environmental Inc.