January 18, 2018

A Planet for Goldilocks

Natalie Batalha

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Planet for Goldilocks

Summary: "Not too hot, not too cold" begins the prescription for a world that's just right for life as we know it. Finding evidence of life beyond Earth is one of the primary goals of science agencies around the world thanks in large part to NASA's Kepler Mission which launched in 2009 with the objective of finding Goldilocks planets orbiting other stars like our Sun. Indeed, the space telescope opened our eyes to the terrestrial-sized planets that populate the galaxy as well as exotic worlds unlike anything that exists in the solar system. The mission ignited the search for chemical fingerprints of life beyond Earth. Most recently, our collective imagination was awakened by the discovery of Goldilocks worlds orbiting some of the nearest neighbors to the Sun, turning abstractions into destinations. Dr. Batalha will describe these recent discoveries and give a preview of what we can look forward to in the coming decades.

About the speaker
Dr. Batalha is a research astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, and the former science lead for NASA’s Kepler Mission. As part of her job, she spends a lot of time thinking about planetary habitability and the search for evidence of life beyond Earth. In 2017, Dr. Batalha was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.