NASA’s HabEx Mission and Living Earths: The Astronomical Answer to "Are We Alone?"

1854 Views | Published on 21st Sep, 2017

The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is a concept for a mission to directly image planetary systems around Sun-like stars. HabEx will directly image Earth-like exoplanets, and characterize their atmospheric content.

NASA has begun four concept studies of major space observatories that could launch sometime in the coming couple decades. In this fourth in our series on these studies, we discuss the Habitable Exoplanet (HabEx) concept.

The discovery over the past few years that stars in the Milky Way may each be orbited by at least one planet suggests that among these numerous planetary systems may reside planets similar to Earth and perhaps even harboring life. The HabEx concept is intended to be the astronomical community’s response to an age-old question of humanity, “Are we alone in the cosmos?" Although optimized for direct imaging exoplanet science, HabEx will also enable a broad suite of unique “general astrophysics” science, not possible from ground- or space-based facilities available in the 2030s, when HabEx would launch.

Please join our regular hosts, Tony Darnell, Alberto Conti, and Harley Thronson, as they discuss with Drs. Stuart Shaklan (NASA JPL), Leslie Rogers (University of Chicago), and Paul Scowen (Arizona State University) the astronomical search for life and the technological advances that will make it possible.

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