Robert D. 2023 | BASIS Independent McLean
- Project Title: Identifying Potentially Habitable Exoplanets using NASA's Exoplanet Archive Data
- Basis Independent Advisor: William Webb
- Internship Location: Aspiring Scholars Distinguished Research Program
- Onsite Mentor: Robert Downing
Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered whether there is anyone else up there? While we have yet to find evidence of extraterrestrial life, we do have the ability to locate potentially habitable exoplanets—that is planets outside of our solar system that could contain liquid water. That is the goal of the exoplanet research group of ASDRP (Aspiring Scholars Directed Research Program). The group has utilized data from the NASA Exoplanet Archive (Planetary Systems Dataset) to identify potentially habitable exoplanets using computer programs to sort through the database. They have identified multiple exoplanets that could potentially hold water. More information regarding their research will be available to the public after their research paper is peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators. My role in this research (and the focus of my research project and internship) will focus on analyzing the albedo value of an exoplanet to identify potentially habitable exoplanets and identifying new factors that could be used for determining habitability. To do this, I will be rigorously reviewing literature related to the topic and writing computer programs using Python in order to comb through NASA’s Exoplanet Archive. The long term goal of this research is to not only identify specific exoplanets that might be habitable, but also to identify and investigate other factors impacting habitability. These results could help scientists better understand our own planet and existence as well as the potential for life elsewhere in the universe.