Dr Jessie Christiansen
Astrophysicist Dr Jessie Christiansen has been called the “Tomb Raider of exoplanet research”. Working at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech, Jessie searches for, studies, and catalogues extrasolar planets – planets orbiting other stars. Her main research focuses on using the thousands of exoplanets found by the NASA Kepler mission to determine how common Earth-like planets might be in our galaxy. She is currently working on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) which will search the entire sky to discover even more planets beyond our solar system.
6.15pm Venue Mt pleasant Primary School – Truth is Stranger than (Science) Fiction
People speculated about the existence of planets orbiting other Suns for hundreds if not thousands of years before they were finally confirmed. That gap left a lot of time for science fiction writers to invent their own worlds – mysterious planets with exotic landscapes, orbiting alien star systems. When our technology finally caught up with our imaginations, what we found was even more extraordinary than we had imagined. As science curator at the NASA Exoplanet Archive, I’ll take you on a tour of some of the more fantastic exoplanet discoveries we have made, including some famous, fan-favourite fictional planets brought to life.