Astronomer uses Hawaii telescopes to search for life in the universe

Astronomer uses Hawaii telescopes to search for life in the universe
(Image: W.M. Keck Observatory)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s an age-old question: Are we alone in the universe?

One astronomer is using Hawaii’s Keck Observatory to try to solve that mystery.

Courtney Dressing is an assistant professor at the University of California Berkeley.

And during a public talk on the Big Island on Tuesday night, she explained her team’s long-term goal of finding worlds that could potentially support life.

They’re using Keck to measure a planet’s mass. That’s a big factor in whether or not it can support an atmosphere.

“Growing up, I read a lot of science fiction and learned about Vulcans and Klingons and all sorts of creatures that looked a lot like humans," she said.

"That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for microbes on other planets. And I hope that someday we can discover life that will fit in the category that we call ‘intelligent life,' but that’s a longer term goal.”

Dressing and her team just finished conducting follow-up observations at Keck Observatory. Their goal is to help shape the future of “exo-planet exploration.”

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