The study of exoplanets – planets around other stars – is a relatively new field. The discovery of the first exoplanet around a star like our sun was made in 1995. Since the launch of NASA’s Kepler space telescope six years ago, more than 1,000 exoplanets have been found, with thousands of additional candidates waiting to be confirmed. Scientists are developing ways to confirm the habitability of these worlds and search for biosignatures, or signs of life.
The Exoplanets Research program conducts research to advance our knowledge and understanding of exoplanetary systems. Its objectives are the detection and characterization of exoplanets (including their surfaces, interiors, and atmospheres) and exoplanetary systems, including the determination of their compositions, dynamics, energetics, and chemical behaviors. This program element is shared between NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) and the Astrophysics Division.