Astrobiology interesting questions

Report on an interesting exoplanet discovery that has taken place within the last two years and which has implications for the field of astrobiology. Be sure to summarize what is particularly significant about this discovery.
As the Kepler space telescope has been sent on its second or K2 mission of finding planets outside our solar systems almost 150,000 stars that are in our galaxy has been found. Moreover, the telescope uses transit model to find out about the exoplanets that are part of the solar system of those stars. This method used the dip in brightness when a planet crosses the star in the view of the telescope. So this is one method that relies on probability heavily.  Almost 4000 planets are found by the scientists till date and the 1000th one just has been confirmed by the telescope in the 2016 January.
Among these planets there are some that are part of other solar systems that are vastly different than our sun. Although due to various reasons these planets exhibit the same characteristics as earth. The climate and structure and the materials are similar to the earth although the sizes of them vastly differ. These planets are far away some of them more than 1100 light-years away so there is no question of verifying if there is really similar life forms on the planets. So the astrobiology mostly depend on the simulation on whether these planets could sustain life or not. There are also 550 candidates of planets among which six are similar to earth in size and are in the habitable zones of the relevant solar systems. The discovered and confirmed planets also have the planets similar to earth and consistent rotation so that the climate of the planets are habitable (, 2016).
Two of the newly discovered planets Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b that are less than 1.5 time the size of earth. Among them the Kepler 438b is 475 light-years away and is 12% bigger than earth. And Kepler 442 b is 1100 light-years away and 33% bigger than earth. They are part of a solar system that have a sun much less hot than the earth’s sun so the habitable zones are much closer to the sun and for that reason the different planets are much faster while rotating their stars as they are closer to them and the orbit is smaller (NASA, 2016).
With each new discovery there are even more small planets that might host a similar suitable condition for life to thrive on the planet are found.   There is 90 % chance of the planet having water which is essential for life to exist and it has to be in liquid from. And the planets are made by rocky substance which is another essential factor. The most significant thing to note about this discovery is the small planets that are in the habitable zone in the solar system are also possibly able to sustain life. It is found that the planets number in the habitable zones of the stars are high and soon it will be discovered if the planets are able to sustain life or not.

Question 2

  The success of the Kepler Space Telescope at finding exoplanets has provided motivation for even more ambitious missions which would be capable of making detailed observations of Earth-like exoplanets. One such example is the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Please provide an overview of the planned TESS mission, being sure to outline how it will improve on what Kepler has already done.
Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is one of the proposals chosen by NASA for funding. It improves on the idea of the Kepler space telescope and will use the same transit method to survey the brightest stars near the solar system and they will help in finding the existence of the exoplanets that exist within the solar systems. This project was proposed by MIT and seed funding came from Google. This satellite will provide many high resolution cameras on all directions with wide view so all of the sky can be monitored by the same satellite which was impossible in the case of Kepler space telescope. TESS will be able to observe the intensity of more than 500,000 stars during a two year mission that is searching for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits.  Kepler used to focus on the some segment of the sky for a period of time over the time of its total operations. And once the stabilizer of the Kepler was malfunctioning the satellite became stationary and was adjusted by the pressure of solar wind. From that point it pointed in only one direction and observed the same segment of the sky for some period (TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, 2016).
TESS will monitor the sky at 27degrees to the side where the sun does not shine and after 27 days it will move 27degrees east to scan another section of the sky. By the use of the wide angle cameras the overlap between the two segments will allow the TESS to observe the stars for longer periods of time than the Kepler was able to do. Because of the orbiting period of the 13.5days the TESS is allowed to view and observe the anti solar sky for more than 27 days a month which has never been done before. TESS will mainly center on G and K type of star with scale brighter than 12. Its surveillance sky area would be approximately 400 times larger than Kepler. Each of the TESS cameras will take one minute exposure as part of transit search and 30 minute full frame exposure to search for other transient event. The main equipment used by the TESS is 24x24 field of view low noise high exposure CCD cameras (TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, 2016). TESS is now in the final preparation stage where the delivery and launch system are being prepared and it is scheduled to launch on august of 2017 from the cape carnival.  As it is a major improvement over the Kepler space telescope it can be hoped that it will uncover many mysteries that the Kepler was unable to unravel (TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, 2016).

Question 3

Suppose that the SETI search is successful, and a clear signal is detected from an alien civilization later this year. Much has been written about the possible impact of such a discovery. Read up on this topic, and then write a summary of how YOU think such a discovery would change things for humankind in this century.
If the SETI search is successful and a definite alien signal is recorded by the NASA and finally after all the deliberation about the existence of alien life is ended with a solid scientific proof then it will definitely be a breakthrough for the scientific researchers who have tried to prove the existence of sentient extraterrestrial life form. But in simple world where the human nature is cautious of any change in the popular beliefs then first response of the humans are distrust and fear and disbelief. It has been proven again and again in the ages as the revolutionary scientists were imprisoned and threatened and even killed. So the proof of existence of sentient alien life form will definitely provoke a similar response in the human society (, 2015). But there are other implications on the field of religion and natural sciences that will challenge the popular beliefs. The theory of evolution will be proven correct that without the help from any divine being life can be created from the planet if the conditions are favorable and it will develop based on the conditions it faces. If the existence of god or any higher power is disproven then there is the chance of chaos ruling the society and the social structure is liable to breakdown. But the effects of such can not be bad as the more scientific approach to life will help the society to dispel the misgivings of the religious conflicts and it will give the humans a clear single minded purpose in the pursuit of science (Daniken, 2002).
And as the different need of religions are ended then the resources that have previously been used in the conflict between religious sects will be free to be used in the development of science and the improvement of condition of the living for humans and if any idea of the society of the alien culture can be found then the human society will have the chance to see their own condition and prejudices from a neutral perspective (Karling, 1997). The different effects of the human society will be diminished and we will have something to compare ourselves to. So the ethics and the natural behavior will be changed as the beliefs of the people are changed but it can be either detrimental or incremental (Daniken, 2002). The different aspects of the society will have different effects on human culture and the different beliefs of the men will be shattered like the belief o\f human superiority over all the species. Whatever the case might be it will surely have an impact on the human society whether the effect will be good or bad still remains to be seen.


Daniken, E. (2002). The gods were astronauts. London: Vega.
Karling, C. (1997). UFOs & extraterrestrials. Denver, Co.: Green Earth Research Publications.
NASA, (2016). NASA’s Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery, Uncovers More Small Worlds in Habitable Zones - Astrobiology Magazine. [online] Astrobiology Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2016]. (2016). Astrobiology - The hunt for life beyond Earth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2016]. (2016). SETI@home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2016]. (2015). SETI: All About the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Infographic). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2016].
TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (2016). The TESS Mission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2016]. (2016). TESS Overview. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2016].

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