The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has already held a press conference for this Wednesday at 6pm (Lisbon) to announce “new discoveries beyond the Solar System”. It turns out that the American space agency has already revealed that these discoveries are relative to exoplanets, (planets that orbit other stars besides the Sun). Those who have read the reports say that they will be published before the press conference in Nature and that NASA’s announcement “could very easily provide new tools for many science fiction works”.
In addition to having a question-answer mechanism on Twitter (via the hashtag #askNASA) and another on Reddit (with scientists answering questions about exo planets at 8:00 PM in the “Ask Me Anything” section), 5 leading scientists, will explain this NASA discovery. Michael Gillon (astronomer at the University of Liège, Belgium), Sean Carey – (Manager of the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena), Nikole Lewis (astronomer Scientist Institute of Space Telescope in Baltimore) and Sara Seager (Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT).
This is undoubtedly NASA’s first major announcement shortly after the discovery of a potentially habitable planet orbiting the closest star to our planet, Proxima Centauri. The planet named Proxima b is approximately the size of the Earth and the distance to its star allows the existence of liquid surface water, which was observed for the first time by the Southern European Observatory in La Silla, Chile.
At this press conference where this discovery was announced, Paul Hertz (director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division) said that “one of the great issues of our time is whether we are alone in the universe” and that “we live in a time when mankind can Answer scientifically to this question” by observing the exoplanets. It is for this reason that any novelty about these celestial bodies, essentially if they are in the habitable zone of their systems, arouses enormous interest in the general public.
In this case, the first exoplanet that was discovered in October 1995, since then, space exploration agencies have already discovered about 4,696 candidates for exoplanets and have confirmed the existence about 3,449. The latest official data from NASA reported the discovery of 1,284 new exoplanets in a habitable zone. There are also 348 exo terrestrial planets, that is, with Earth-like characteristics.