Dr Doug Hudgins
Exoplanets in our own neighbourhood: Getting to know the neighbours.
One of the most exciting challenges facing NASA today is the search for life beyond our solar system. NASA’s trailblazing Kepler mission conducted a census of planets around other stars, called “extrasolar planets” or “exoplanets” for short. Kepler showed us that there are more planets than stars in our galaxy, and that small planets—planets up to about 4x the size of Earth—are by far the most common of all. Today, NASA’s TESS mission is searching for our nearest neighbours—the planets around the nearest and brightest stars to us here on Earth. The TESS survey will provide a roadmap for future NASA missions that will study our nearest neighbours to see what they are like and look for any hint that they might harbor life.
To meet the challenge of looking for life among the stars, NASA has established its Exoplanet Exploration Program. In this talk we will look at the latest scientific results, the technology development, and the future mission concepts that the program is engaged in to blaze a path to finding Earth 2.0.
Dr. Doug Hudgins' visit to USQ is funded as a Gift of the United States Government.
Professor Rob Wittenmyer
MINERVA-Australis: Australia’s dedicated planet-hunting machine
Less than a generation ago, we wondered, as we had for millions of years before, whether there were any other planetary systems at all.
Now, we are privileged to be in the first generation of humans to know that many of the points of light dusting our night sky are host to orbiting worlds, some of which may be like our Earth. MINERVA-Australis at the University of Southern Queensland's Mount Kent Observatory is the only Southern Hemisphere precise radial velocity facility wholly dedicated to follow-up of exoplanets identified by the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). I give an overview and update of operations, and I present our precise radial velocity results and orbital solutions for several TESS planets.