Physics Talk with Ruslan Belikov
Monday, April 8, 2019 at 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Olsen Hall Room 120
Ruslan Belikov from NASA Ames Research Center will give a talk for faculty and students. Belikov works on the technology required to directly image planets around other stars for NASA's next generation of space telescopes. He will describe the current challenges and opportunities in this exciting field.
The exoplanets field has revolutionized astronomy over the past 20+ years and shows no sign of stopping. The next big wave may come from direct imaging of exoplanets. NASA is planning an instrument for its 2020s flagship mission (WFIRST) to directly image large exoplanets. Can we characterize "Earth 2.0”, i.e. a rocky planet with an atmosphere capable of supporting life? This appears possible with Extremely Large Telescopes from the ground or a starshade with the WFIRST space telescope. Also, if an Earth-like planet exists around Alpha Centauri A or B, it may be possible to directly image it in the next ~five years with ground-based telescopes or a small space mission such as the Alpha Centauri Exoplanet Satellite