Press Release

Public Invited to Free Lecture at NASA Goddard: Finding Other Worlds Beyond Our Solar System

By SpaceRef Editor
April 5, 2013
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The public is invited to experience “Stars and Planets Everywhere! Finding Other Worlds Beyond Our Solar System,” a free event on April 10 at the Visitor Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The lecture will be presented by Jennifer Wiseman, senior astrophysicist at NASA Goddard.

“It’s amazing: The discovery of planets outside our solar system has jumped from science fiction to real scientific pursuit over just a few years,” Wiseman said. “We’re now finding planets of all sizes, and hot on the pursuit of planets like Earth.”

Once only science fiction, astronomers are now finding thousands of candidate planetary systems beyond our own, thanks to advancing technology. Are any of these “exoplanets” like Earth? In her presentation, Wiseman will explain the tricky detective techniques astronomers use to find elusive exoplanets with telescopes on the ground and in space. We will also investigate how the atmospheres of these planets might yield evidence of biological activity as we explore whether life can thrive beyond Earth.

Wiseman serves as the senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. She previously headed NASA Goddard’s Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics. She studies star-forming regions of our galaxy using radio, optical and infrared telescopes, with a particular interest in molecular cloud cores, protostars and outflows. Wiseman is also interested in science policy and public science outreach and engagement.

The talk is part of the Gerald Soffen Lecture Series and will be held at the Goddard Visitor Center on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at 7 p.m. EDT (doors will open at 6:45 p.m.). The free talk is about one hour and will end with a question and answer session.

The Gerald Soffen lecture series is dedicated to Dr. Gerald Soffen (1926-2000). Soffen led the science team for NASA’s Viking program, was director of life sciences at NASA, project scientist for NASA’s Earth Observing System, and created NASA Academy, NASA’s premiere leadership training internship. The Viking 2 lander and a crater on Mars were named for Soffen. He was best known, however, for his passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Goddard Visitor Center is located off Greenbelt Road in Greenbelt, Md. Visitors are welcome to attend without pre-registration. Attendees who have submitted pre-registration forms, however, will have seating priority. Overflow seating may be required to accommodate all guests.

To register, visit: . Pre-registration will be open until April 9, 2013.

For directions to the Goddard Visitor Center, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.