The road to characterizing potentially habitable planets


The Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds (CEHW) at Penn State discovers and characterizes planets beyond our solar system to understand the implications for the possibility of life beyond Earth. NASA’s Kepler mission discovered thousands of exoplanets, including hundreds of Earth-size planets. However, the planets discovered around sun-like stars by Kepler are typically thousands of light years away, making them difficult to study in detail. Penn State researchers have developed sophisticated modeling tools to deduce the distribution of planets and planetary systems in our galaxy and have developed a new generation of instruments to test these models by searching nearby stars for Earth-mass planets. Learn how Penn State research is informing plans for a new generation of observatories and space missions to characterize potentially Earth-like planets.

University Park, PA
Eric B. Ford

My research focuses on exoplanets, planet formation and astrostatistics.