In this “part 3” of our interview, Dr. Lunine talked about exoplanets. The discovery of planets outside our Solar System has revolutionized planetary science.
The Kepler space telescope mission, with its nine-year voyage which ended last year, made possible the detection of thousands of planets. It’s now understood, Lunine said, that planet formation is a common part of star formation.
Lunine noted that Cornell University, where he is on the faculty, has many new avenues of astrophysics and planetary science research. The Carl Sagan Institute hosts a multidisciplinary team studying exoplanets.