Meet the Neighbors: Exploring Planets Orbiting Nearby Stars (with Dr. Courtney Dressing)

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The NASA Kepler mission revealed that our Galaxy is teeming with planetary systems and that Earth-sized planets are common. However, most of the planets detected by Kepler orbit stars too faint to permit detailed study. The NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS,) launched in 2018, is finding hundreds of small planets orbiting stars that are much closer and brighter. Dr. Dressing (Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley) describes the TESS mission and explain how analyses of the TESS planets allows us to probe the composition of small planets, investigate the formation of planetary systems, and set the stage for the next phase of exoplanet exploration: the quest for the signatures of life in the atmospheres of strange new worlds.

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