"Not too hot, not too cold" begins the prescription for a world that's just right for life as we know it. 

Finding evidence of life beyond Earth is one of the primary goals of science agencies around the world thanks in large part to NASA's Kepler Mission which launched in 2009 with the objective of finding Goldilocks planets orbiting other stars like our Sun. The space telescope opened our eyes to the terrestrial-sized planets that populate the galaxy as well as exotic worlds unlike anything that exists in the solar system. The mission ignited the search for life beyond earth via remote detection of atmospheric biosignatures on exoplanets. Most recently, our collective imagination was awakened by the discovery of Goldilocks worlds orbiting some of the nearest neighbors to the Sun, turning abstractions into destinations. 

Dr. Batalha will give an overview of the science legacy of the Kepler Mission and other key discoveries. She'll give a preview of what's to come by highlighting the missions soon to launch and those that are concepts taking shape on the drawing board.

Lecture venues and times

Auckland – 6 October, 7 pm
Lecture theatre OGGB4, Level 0, Owen G Glenn Building, The University of Auckland, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland.
Register for this free event at https://nataliebatalha.eventbrite.co.nz

Whangarei – 7 October, 7 pm
Tikipunga High School Hall
Admission: Adults $10, Child $5
Bookings: www.planets.nz

Gisborne – 9 October, 7 pm
War Memorial Theatre -159 Bright Street, Gisborne.
Admission: Adult $10, Child $5 (under 15)

Palmerston North – 10 October 10, 7:30 pm
Community Leisure Centre, Ferguson Street, Palmerston North
Gold coin admission

Christchurch – 11 October, 7:30 pm
Lecture Theatre A1, Canterbury University, Ilam
No admission charge

Aoraki Mt Cook – 14 October 7:30 pm
Callesen Theatre and Planetarium, 89 Terrace Road, Mt. Cook Village, Aoraki Mt Cook, Mackenzie
Bookings: www.eventfinda.co.nz/2017/public-lecture-by-dr-natalie-batalha-planet-for-goldilocks/aoraki-mt-cook
Admission: $15

Invercargill – 18 October, 7:30 pm
The Ascot Park Hotel
Admission: Adult & S.I.T Students - $5.00, School Students $2.00
Dunedin – 19 October, 5:30 pm
Hutton Theatre (Otago Museum). No admission charge


Dr Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and the Mission Scientist for NASA's Kepler Mission. She has been involved with the Kepler Mission since the proposal stage and has contributed to many different aspects of the science, from studying the stars themselves to detecting and understanding the planets they harbour. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery in 2011 of Kepler-10b — the mission's first confirmation of a rocky planet outside our solar system. Today, she leads the effort to understand planet populations in the galaxy based on Kepler discoveries. In 2011, Dr. Batalha was awarded a NASA Public Service Medal for her vision in communicating Kepler science to the public and for outstanding leadership in coordinating the Kepler Science Team. In 2015, she joined the leadership team of NASA's Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS). 

For further information: https://rasnz.org.nz/rasnz/beatrice-hill-tinsley-lectures 

Related content

Find out more about Beatrice Hill Tinsley in this article and then explore the interactive timeline that covers her life and work, and how these fit into a wider science picture of cosmology.

We have many supporting resources under our astronomy topic, including these articles looking at planet hunting and a history of planet hunting.

Try out this activity, Is anything out there, with your students to look at whether there is evidence for life on other planets outside our Solar System.

Useful link

Listen to Kim Hill interviewing Dr Batalha on RNZ here.


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