Videos: The Search for Another Earth + If ET Builds it, will be notice? + Imaging a habitable planet at Alpha Centauri

* The Search for Another Earth – a new video from NASA JPL :

Twenty years ago, the first exoplanet discovered around a sun-like star, 51 Pegasi b, made us question what we knew about our universe and launched the search for new worlds. This is the story of the pioneers in planet-hunting and how those who have followed are closer to answering one of humanity’s most ancient questions: Is there life elsewhere in the universe?

* If ET Builds It, Will We Notice? – The SETI Institute posted this brief video about whether there might be way to detect a distant super high tech civilization could be detected via the light of its star:

Could an alien civilization build unusual super-structures to attract the attention other worlds? Could we detect such an anomaly using the Kepler telescope?

This excerpt is from a 2013 SETI talk by Jason Wright of Penn. State suggests an alternate way for ET to “send a signal.”

Wright’s complete seminar video is available here.

* Imaging a habitable planet at Alpha Centauri – Ruslan Belikov & Eduardo Bendek (SETI Talks)

From the caption:

In 1990, at the request of Carl Sagan, Voyager 1 turned and took a picture of Earth from a distance of 6 billion kilometers. This produced the famous “pale blue dot” image of our planet. Several mission concepts are being studied to obtain similar images of Earth-like exoplanets (exo-Earths) around other stars. It is commonly thought that directly imaging a potentially habitable exoplanet requires telescopes with apertures of at least 1 meter, costing at least $1B, and launching no earlier than the 2020s. A notable exception to this is Alpha Centauri (A and B), which is unusually close for a Sun-like star. A ~30-45cm visible light space telescope equipped with a modern high performance coronagraph is sufficient to resolve the habitable zone at high contrast and directly image any potentially habitable planet that may exist in the system.

Dr. Belikov will describe the challenges involved with direct imaging of Alpha Centauri planetary systems with a small telescope and how new technologies currently being developed can solve them. He will also show examples of small coronagraphic mission concepts currently being developed to take advantage of this opportunity, and in particular a mission concept called “ACESat: Alpha Centauri Exoplanet Sattellite” submitted to NASA’s small Explorer (SMEX) program in December of 2014.