New NASA mission could find more than 1,000 planets

New NASA mission could find more than 1,000 planets

by Laura Arenschield, The Ohio State University, Phys.org

A NASA telescope that will give humans the largest, deepest, clearest picture of the universe since the Hubble Space Telescope could find as many as 1,400 new planets outside Earth’s solar system, new research suggests.

The new telescope paves the way for a more accurate, more focused search for extraterrestrial life, according to researchers.

The study, by a team of astronomers at The Ohio State University, provides the most detailed estimates to date of the potential reach of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope mission (nicknamed WFIRST.) It was designed by NASA and astronomers throughout the country to find new planets and research dark energy, the mysterious force that pervades otherwise empty space and that could hold the keys to understanding how the universe expands. Their work was published Feb. 25 in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

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