As part of NASA’s continued effort to ensure a steady supply of astrophysics and astronomy missions, the agency is undertaking the Astro2020: Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics. Currently, in the “Concept Study” phase, the survey includes proposals for four large-scale space telescopes – including the Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx).
HabEx would facilitate direct observation of exoplanets, carry a primary focus on imaging Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars, and be able to detect biomarkers or signs of possible life in those exoplanets’ atmospheres via spectroscopic observations.
HabEx – taking exoplanet research to the next level:
For millennia, the question of whether or not humanity is alone in the universe has captivated the minds of explorers and scientists.
But until recently, an important part of that equation remained elusive: exactly how many exoplanets exist in our galaxy and the universe?
The first confirmed detection of an exoplanet occurred in the early 1990s, with subsequent observations confirming the earliest detection actually occurred in the 1980s. But ground-based observations were slow and far between.
To help solve the question once and for all, NASA launched the Kepler Space Telescope in 2009 – a telescope tasked solely with searching for exoplanets and determining ...