2003 Annual Science Report

Virtual Planetary Laboratory (JPL/CalTech) Reporting  |  JUL 2002 – JUN 2003

Executive Summary

Towards Characterization of Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets

“There are countless suns and countless earths all rotating around their suns in exactly the same way as the seven planets of our system. We see only the suns because they are the largest bodies and are luminous, but their planets remain invisible to us because they are smaller and non-luminous. The countless worlds in the universe are no worse and no less inhabited than our Earth.”

-GIORDANO BRUNO (1584)

Are we alone? The richness and enormous vastness of our universe makes our solitariness seem almost unthinkable, and so this ancient musing has remained one of the most fundamental of human questions. Yet while the medieval monk Giordano Bruno could only speculate on the prevalence of other planetary systems that could harbor life, in the last decade we have been fortunate enough to see the search for other ... Continue reading.

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