The Next Steps in Exoplanet Discovery and Characterization

Josh Pepper

Department of Physics, Lehigh University

The past two decades have seen an explosion of discovery of extrasolar planets. We are now assembling a picture of the variety of planetary systems in our galaxy, detecting planets in previously unexpected configurations and types. I will describe the results from recent exoplanet surveys, including NASA's Kepler space mission, and the ways in which our understandings of planet formation and evolution have been revolutionized. I will outline the next steps in exoplanet discovery, including the work of low-cost small telescopes, and the future space missions that will move us toward the direct detection of biomarkers in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets.