It’s terribly hard to find exoplanets that look like our homeworld. The search requires development of astoundingly powerful and precise instruments. That’s the job Debra Fischer and her team have taken on. Emily Lakdawalla reports from JPL on what the Dawn spacecraft has taught us about a world called Vesta. Casey Dreier sits in for Bill Nye with an update on space policy and budget developments in Washington DC. The Little Green Men take over this week’s What’s Up segment with Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan.
A sample laser frequency comb spectrum
In this laser frequency comb, colorized for illustrative purposes, the solid lines are the star spectrum and the dots are the artificial laser spectrum. The dark gaps in the star spectrum represent different chemical elements in the starlight. Long-term star observations can be calibrated using the artificial spectrum to reveal if the star is wobbling due to the presence of an exoplanet.