Observational Research on Star and Planetary System Formation

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Observational Research on Star and Planetary System Formation

Publication Date
Jul 09, 1998
SETI Institute


Institute scientists collaborate with a number of NASA Ames scientists on observational studies of star and planetary system formation to their mutual benefit. As part of this collaboration, SETI scientists have, from 1988 to the present: (1) contributed to the technical studies at NASA Ames of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an infrared 2.5 meter telescope in a Boeing 747, which will replace the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO), a 0.9 meter telescope in a Lockheed C-141. SOFIA will be an important facility for the future exploration of the formation of stars and planetary systems, and the origins of life, and as such will be an important future facility to SETI scientists; (2) worked with the Laboratory Astrophysics Group at Ames, carrying out laboratory studies of the spectroscopic properties of ices and pre-biotic organics, which could be formed in the interstellar or interplanetary media; (3) helped develop a photometric approach for determining the Frequency of Earth-Sized Inner Planets (FRESIP) around solar-like stars, a project (now called Kepler) which complements the current efforts of the SETI Institute to find evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence; and (4) carried out independent observational research, in particular research on the formation of stars and planetary systems using both ground-based telescopes as well as the KAO.

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