Star Hacking : Finding the Next Earth and getting there


Hakeem Oluseyi (Florida Inst of Technology and NASA                                                                                                                      


  Abstract:  In modern times, the word hack has come to mean repurposing                                                          
something in new or creative ways in order to gain benefit or cleverly solve                                                    
a tricky problem. It is now common in astrophysics to hack stars in order to                                                    
further human understanding of the universe or invent new technologies. We                                                      
can use stars to discover new planets, to address the structure and                                                             
evolution of the Galaxy, or even to develop new technologies. In this talk,                                                     
I will describe my recent work "star hacking". Two main projects are being                                                      
undertaken. The first is a collaboration with the Transiting Exoplanet                                                          
Survey Satellite (TESS) science team to discover new Earth-like planets                                                         
around nearby stars. TESS will also observe and discover a large number of                                                      
variable stars, which may be used to elucidate Galactic structure and                                                           
evolution. I will also describe a novel magnetic reconnection based, ion                                                        
drive in-space propulsion technology that my group has invented, which was                                                      
inspired by plasma acceleration at the Sun's surface.