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New NASA spectograph "FINESSE" will search for breathable atmospheres on exoplanets

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posted on May, 20 2012 @ 06:45 AM
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This is most likely the next step toward the discovery of life outside Earth. Until now, exobiologists were only able to say whether exoplanets have an atmosphere or not and make assumption about the possible presence of oxygen...
But with this new project, things will change quickly and we will know soon if best exoplanets candidates, like Gliese 667Cc, Kelpler 22-b or Gliese 581d have a breathable atmosphere, a photosynthesis process and a greenhouse effect.




Part of NASA’s Explorers program, FINESSE — which stands for (take a deep breath) Fast INfrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer — would gather spectroscopic data from 200 known exoplanets over a two-year period, helping scientists to determine the composition of their atmospheres, surfaces, and even their weather. The data could bring astrobiologists closer to identifying habitable extrasolar worlds around distant stars.


Source
edit on 20-5-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 20 2012 @ 06:48 AM
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Originally posted by elevenaugust
This is most likely the next step toward the discovery of life outside Earth. Until now, exobiologists were only able to say whether exoplanets have an atmosphere or not and make assumption about the possible presence of oxygen...
But with this new project, things will change quickly and we will know soon if best exoplanets candidates, like Gliese 667Cc, Kelpler 22-b or Gliese 581d have a breathable atmosphere, a photosynthesis process and a greenhouse effect.




Part of NASA’s Explorers program, FINESSE — which stands for (take a deep breath) Fast INfrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer — would gather spectroscopic data from 200 known exoplanets over a two-year period, helping scientists to determine the composition of their atmospheres, surfaces, and even their weather. The data could bring astrobiologists closer to identifying habitable extrasolar worlds around distant stars.


Source
edit on 20-5-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)



so this thing that looks like a smoke stack from the titanic will float around in space and test atmospheres in just 2 years?

how fast can this thing move?

better yet, how far can it sense things?



posted on May, 20 2012 @ 06:49 AM
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Here's hoping Congress can get their budget together and NASA doesn't have to slash its pure science programs! Thank you for sharing.



posted on May, 20 2012 @ 06:52 AM
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Originally posted by DJW001
Here's hoping Congress can get their budget together and NASA doesn't have to slash its pure science programs! Thank you for sharing.

Yes! And it is proposed for launch in October 2016. So, we will have, if the Congress have the budget to do it so, to wait four years...
Sounds promising anyway.

“FINESSE is the next step in humankind’s journey of understanding our place in the cosmos.” - Mark Swain, principal investigator for FINESSE

The one page PDF presentation is here
edit on 20-5-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 20 2012 @ 11:05 AM
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I don't see how this will be able to detect oxygen, I mean arn't the actual planets only detected because of the wobble in the host star's light waves or something? It just seems hard to believe that they can just detect what an atmosphere is made of, and on top of that, couldn't half of these planets already be dead/dieing bases on the fact that we're viewing them how they were millions of years ago?



posted on May, 20 2012 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by brendanj207
I don't see how this will be able to detect oxygen, I mean arn't the actual planets only detected because of the wobble in the host star's light waves or something? It just seems hard to believe that they can just detect what an atmosphere is made of


Light from Alien Super-Earth Seen for 1st Time

Looks like we just figured it out. Should be pretty easy to tell what an atmosphere is made of if we can see light from the planet.



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