Exoplanet Research May Be Missing Forest For the Trees

After years of focus on individual exoplanets and their systems, the time has come to focus on bigger picture sections of exoplanet research.

Beth Johnson

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IMAGE: An artist’s rendering of OGLE-2005-BLG-390L b, which was discovered through gravitational microlensing. It is one of the most remote exoplanets yet seen, at a distance of about 20,000 light-years. CREDIT: ESO

In my continuing theme to explore all things exoplanet this week, I want to give a shoutout to Eos magazine for celebrating exoplanets in their August issue. It is packed full of stories, some of which we’re covering here on Daily Space. It’s definitely worth a look at their website to see all the fantastic writing being done, including by Weekly Space Hangout journalists and CosmoQuest-a-Con guests Kimberly Cartier and Morgan Rehnberg.

Earlier this week, I talked about some of the strange atmospheric conditions and possible weather on hot Jupiters — places where the rain is composed of iron, rubies, sapphires, and other materials not usually thought of as liquid molecules. Honestly, I love thinking about fascinating possibilities for exoplanets. These worlds must be a science fiction writer’s dream. You may not be able to host human life on them, but you sure can be creative about other forms of life and their adaptations.

However, the press releases about all these individual worlds might be overshadowing the forest for the trees, so to speak. In a story titled…

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Beth Johnson

Planetary scientist, podcast host. Communication specialist for SETI Institute and Planetary Science Institute. Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/planetarypan