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STScI Astrobiology Lecture Series

The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program: the Search for Planets, Habitability, and Life in our Galaxy

Presented by: Gary H. Blackwood (Exoplanet Exploration Program, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology)
Category: Science Colloquia   Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes   Broadcast date: December 05, 2014
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The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) is chartered by the NASA Astrophysics Division to implement the NASA space science goals of detecting and characterizing exoplanets and of searching for signs of life. The Program is responsible for space missions, concept studies, technology investments, and ground-based precursor and follow-up science that enables future missions and delivers mission Level-1 science. The ExEP includes the space science missions of Kepler, K2, and the proposed WFIRST/AFTA mission that includes both a microlensing survey for outer-exoplanet demographics and a coronagraph for direct imaging of gas- and ice-giant planets around nearby stars. Studies of probe-scale (medium class) missions for a coronagraph (internal occulter) and starshade (external occulter) explore the trades of cost and science and provide motivation for a technology investment program leading to the next decadal survey for NASA Astrophysics. Ground follow-up using the Keck Observatory contributes to the science yield of Kepler and K2, and mid-infrared observations of exo-zodiacal dust by the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer help constrain the design and predicted science yield of the next generation of direct imaging missions. Technology development in high-contrast imaging for internal and external occulters enable the design of missions that fulfill the goal of detecting habitable worlds and looking for signs of life.

Related Documents

Gary's Slides PDF document (.pdf)