How To Watch NASA’s Big (Exoplanet?) Announcement, Live

How To Watch NASA’s Big (Exoplanet?) Announcement, Live

Set your alarm clocks – at 2am on Friday morning NASA is announcing something big – the latest discovery made by its Kepler space telescope, which is searching for “other Earths” using machine learning from Google.

We’ll be filling you in with all the details, of course, but here’s how you can watch if you’re keen to have an early start.

Paul Hertz (Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington), Christopher Shallue (senior software engineer at Google AI in Mountain View, California), Andrew Vanderburg (astronomer and NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas, Austin) and Jessie Dotson (Kepler project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley) will be revealing the big news.

You can watch on NASA live from 2am 15 December here.

Named in honor of German astronomer Johannes Kepler, the Kepler Mission is designed to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.

Kepler monitors the brightness of over 100,000 stars in a fixed field of view, using the collected data to indicate the presence of exoplanets.

After finishing its main mission in 2012, Kepler kept going for another year, collecting data until 2014, when the K2 mission began. The whole point of K2 is to look for exoplanets – planets outside our solar system – and discovering new ways to study “young stars, supernovae and other cosmic phenomena”.

When it launched in 2009, we had no idea how many there were. Now, thanks to Kepler’s discoveries, we now believe there may be at least one planet orbiting every star in the sky.

This announcement on Friday morning is big enough to warrant a full media conference, and I don;’t want to speculate about what it might be, but oh wow – imagine if Kepler has found a habitable planet.