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More Issues

Feature: Exoplanets

2 March 2020

Your Guide to Exoplanets

Learn why and how we study exoplanets, and how you can get involved.

2 March 2020

Our Exoplanets Research

Scientists are searching for 100 Earth-like planets around other stars, and you can help.

Swapna Krishna ● 12 March 2020

What is the Habitable Zone?

The habitable zone is the not-too-hot, not-too-cold region around a star where liquid water can exist.

Emily Lakdawalla ● 2 March 2020

The Different Kinds of Exoplanets
You Meet in the Milky Way

Lava worlds. Hot Jupiters. Earth 2.0 candidates. Here's a rundown of some notable exoplanets.

Emily Lakdawalla & Staff ● 2 March 2020

How to Search for Exoplanets

Some methods almost sound like science fiction: Using gravity as a magnifying glass, watching stars wobble at turtle-like speeds, and searching for tiny dips in starlight.

2 March 2020

Your guide to WFIRST

WFIRST, NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, is the next step in our hunt for Earth-sized exoplanets.

Blogs & Articles

Tonight I Glimpsed LightSail

Bill Nye • June 14, 2015 • 8

Tonight, for the first time, I glimpsed our spacecraft with my own eyes. It was just the faintest pinprick against the bright lights of the big city. But, there it was right on time and exactly per the coordinates.

In Pictures: LightSail’s Final Days in Space

Jason Davis • June 12, 2015 • 7

LightSail’s brief stay in orbit is almost over. Here are a few photos and videos of the spacecraft from observers around the world.

Pretty (Partial) Picture: LightSail Catches a Glimpse of Earth

Jason Davis • June 10, 2015 • 3

With the team still trying to download an image from LightSail's second camera, Emily Lakdawalla processed a partial image from the first camera that contains a slice of Earth.

LightSail Test Mission Declared Success; First Image Complete

Jason Davis • June 09, 2015 • 22

The Planetary Society’s LightSail test mission successfully completed its primary objective of deploying a solar sail in low-Earth orbit.

Sails in Space: Partial Photo, Video and Light Curve (Updated)

Jason Davis • June 08, 2015 • 7

It’s official: The sails are out. This afternoon, LightSail mission controllers downlinked a partial image of the spacecraft’s solar sails in space.

Deployment! LightSail Boom Motor Whirrs to Life

Jason Davis • June 07, 2015 • 16

LightSail's tiny solar sail deployment motor sprung to life Sunday afternoon, marking an important milestone for The Planetary Society’s nail-biting test mission.

LightSail Drama Continues as Spacecraft Wakes for Second Time

Jason Davis • June 06, 2015 • 6

LightSail is back in business, following the second extended outage of the test spacecraft’s mission. The CubeSat checked in at 2:21 p.m. EDT Saturday.

LightSail Falls Silent; Battery Glitch Suspected

Jason Davis • June 04, 2015 • 10

The LightSail test spacecraft fell silent for a second time, less than a day after completing what appeared to be a successful solar panel deployment.

LightSail Solar Panel Deployment: No Pics, but Data Look Good

Jason Davis • June 03, 2015 • 1

LightSail didn’t send home pretty pictures of Earth today, but it did relay promising signs that its deployable solar panels swung successfully out into space.

LightSail Deployment Update: Panels Wednesday, Sails Friday

Jason Davis • June 02, 2015 • 8

LightSail Mission Managers have decided to split the spacecraft’s sail deployment sequence into two segments, following an extended checkout period that wrapped up Tuesday.

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