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NASA, NSF Partner on Exoplanet Discovery Instrument Dev’t; Paul Hertz Comments

deep_spaceNASA has teamed up with the National Science Foundation in an effort to develop an instrument that can detect exoplanets by measuring the “wobbling” of stars caused by the gravitational pull of a nearby planet.

The NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research program aims to utilize the future NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler Spectroscopy instrument to be built by a Pennsylvania State University research group , the space agency said Wednesday.

Suvrath Mahadevan will lead the research group, which will work to build NEID through 2019, NASA added.

Paul Hertz, NASA astrophysics division director, said NEID along with the WIYN telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory could support the search for new planets and lead to other future discoveries.

NASA said the instrument could also follow-up on ongoing planet-hunting missions such as the Kepler/K2 and complement the James Webb Space Telescope and Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope for other potential discoveries.

The exoplanet exploration program office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the NEID project.

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