Scientific Colloquium
September 20, 2017, 3:30 p.m.

"Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration (SEEC) and the Search for Alien Worlds"  

Are we alone? This is a question that humanity has asked for millennia; finding an answer is beginning to fall within our grasp. Though just 20 years old, the field of exoplanet science has made remarkable progress. We now know that rocky planets are common, giant planets fairly uncommon, and that there are likely more planets than there are stars. As we move from detecting planets to characterizing the best ones, it is essential that we assemble a broad spectrum of expertise.

Goddard Space Flight Center is at the forefront of upcoming space-based exoplanet science through its leadership roles within the upcoming Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which will find touchstone planets; the James Webb Space Telescope, which will probe planetary atmospheres; and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope which will reveal the architectures of planetary systems. Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration brings together the rich variety of science performed at Goddard to make sense of the data we collect to understand the characteristics of these planets we study, with a focus on looking at evidence that could reveal the first signs of life beyond the Solar System.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Tom Barclay is an Associate Research Scientist working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Dr. Barclay's research focuses on measuring properties of exoplanets and their host stars using data from space and ground-based telescopes. He has made several major discoveries, including the detection of the smallest known planet, the detection of the first super-Earth-sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star, and the detection of the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star.

Dr. Barclay joined NASA’s Ames Research Center in 2011 where he worked on the Kepler space telescope, serving in a variety of roles before being appointed as Director of the mission’s Guest Observe Office in 2014. He was instrumental in the development of the successful K2 mission concept, which utilized the Kepler spacecraft and searched for exoplanets in the ecliptic plane. In his role on the K2 mission scientific leadership team he pioneered the mission's open science initiatives that influence NASA’s ongoing policies.

Dr. Barclay now serves as Deputy Director of the TESS Science Support Center. His primary role is in maximizing the science return from the upcoming Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which will search for exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, beginning in 2018.

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