Jan 19, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Exoplanet Classification Methods & Future Breakthroughs Revealed By Researchers

May 22, 2017 05:49 PM EDT

After discovering many exoplanet candidates in the past, scientists couldn’t just stay still. Hence, they have discussed the future of exoplanet discovery and breakthrough. The classification methods of identifying exoplanets were given as well.

According to Space, thousands of exoplanet candidates were discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. It was then discussed that a common classification of exoplanet lies between "rocky" planets and "gas" planets. In which could be seen in distinguishing rocky planets such as Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars compared from the rest.

Other exoplanets classifications were identified to be its position relative to Earth and position relative to the asteroid belt. Yet, the most famous exoplanet classification attempt was the site Star Trek. Examples in the list include whether the exoplanet is terrestrial, marginally habitable, gas giant, toxic atmosphere or is habitable.

The Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) shared their own method of classifying exoplanets as well. Their method was said to be based on mass which is a metric that could be observed by using such instruments such as the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) spectrograph. Stern and Levison were identified to be the ones to suggest that any classification method should be physically based like on characteristics or on quantity.

The first classification of exoplanets by the PHL was called Minor planets, moons and comets which branch out as exoplanets less than 0.00001 Earth masses are equal to an asteroid while 0.00001 to 0.1 Earth masses stands for mercurian. Other classifications by PHL were based on Terrestrial planets (rocky composition) and Gas giant planets.

Furthermore, Phys Org also mentioned Mercedes López-Morales from the Harvard Center for Astrophysics then discussed that scientists are now looking into the future of looking for oxygen inhabitable exoplanets. López-Morales then explained that the next generation Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will indeed aid scientists to find oxygen and other habitable zones on other planets.

The group’s Breakthrough Starshot initiative was described to launch a fleet of very small spacecraft at a close to light speed in order to study an exoplanet as close as possible. NASA engineer Ruslan Belikov also shared that Starshot's point of view will have its onboard cameras pick up images of exoplanets amid the craft’s possible speed identified to be 90 percent the speed of light.

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