Thursday, June 5, 2008

PlanetQuest Update

I received an e-mail today from Dr. Laurence Doyle of PlanetQuest, the BOINC-based search for extra-solar planets. I had e-mailed Dr. Doyle asking for a status update, and this is what he replied:
We have been stalled with fund raising -- but I have written a business plan and that is being circulated through possible donors. As far as the (more predictable) science is concerned, we have half of the detection algorithms running on BOINC and we have a star catalogue of about 2 million observations reduced to light curves. We are also including some re-processed HST images (7-day search for extrasolar planets) and some other public domain data to include -- i.e., to be searched for eclipsing binary planets. Finally, I have been added (via a successful proposal) to the NASA Kepler mission and hope to share some of that data with PlanetQuesters, so that we can all participate in this mission to detect the first "Earths."

It sounds like PlanetQuest is going to have a lot of data for us to crunch in the search for extra-solar planets once they get some funding. So if any of you have any pull with anyone who can help fund, or if you want to put forth some money yourself—as I have done—they are a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit and they accept donations.

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