Humans have long wondered if there were worlds around other stars – and life on those worlds. Over the last two decades, astronomers have found that the answer to the first question is a resounding YES. Those accomplishments have put us in a position to possibly answer the second question. The 2020 US Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2020) has laid out a path to the first telescope that can find out if planets like the Earth are common or rare and search them for signs of global biospheres. In this talk, I’ll discuss some of the efforts over the last decade that got us to this place, from the 2013 NASA Astrophysics Visionary Roadmap, through the LUVOIR and HabEx Large Mission Concept Studies, to the recommendations of the 2021 Astro2020 Report. This multi-faceted journey required collaboration between a wide range of disciplines, interests, and stakeholders. Continuing out into future decades, the path may lead to a new generation of Great Observatories in space and new perspectives on the universe around us.
Thu, 20.01.2022 14:00