News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

AIAA presents Kepler Mission “Goldilocks Planets” panel

AIAA presents Kepler Mission “Goldilocks Planets” panel

Sep 9, 2013

The AIAA recently held a dinner presentation in Manhattan Beach at the IL Fornio Restaurant.  QGITS team had the opportunity to hear speakers Dr. David R. Ciardi a Research Scientist at NASA Exoplanet Science Institute  IPAC/Caltech and Dr. Pieter Deroo a Research Scientist from NASA JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech discuss updated science results about the Kepler mission and discoveries of “Goldilocks planets” a planet that falls within a star’s habitable zone that may be ideal for life to flourish.

In Dr. David’s presentation he explained different ways scientist detect planets in the universe. Some techniques used were by Microlensing, Direct Imaging, Stellar Wobble, Planetary Transits and best technique used so far is by Transitioning Exoplanets which obscures just a tiny fraction of the light from its parent star, allowing astronomers to detect its presence. In 2009 the Kepler Mission was launched by Nasa using the Transitioning method. Additionally he explained there has been 3500 newly discovered planets that are smaller than Neptune but larger than Earth however are not representative or found in our solar system but very cool to hear that some of these planets orbit two suns instead of one called binary systems that are real life versions of the iconic fictional planet Tatooine from the movie Star Wars the home planet of Luke Skywalker.


In following Dr. Peter discussed the study of exoplanet atmospheres by explaining the design and scientific exploitation of high performance calibration methods to demonstrate exoplanet atmospheric profiling and by using the space telescopes Hubble and Spitzer as well as ground-based spectrographs.  His observational expertise and detailed instrument modeling was critical for optimizing the end-to-end mission design of FINESSE mission the Fast Infrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer,to study the nature of exoplanet atmospheres.  Peter also mentioned an instrument called Tess The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite used in search for exoplanets that will scan the sky moving an average every 30 days which will be a successor to the Kepler space telescope. He stated that in search of other planets scientist usually need to understand the star first in order to better understand the planet.

Watch video to learn more about TESS:

To also learn more abut Kepler space telescope visit:


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