Unanswered Questions. As discussed in this chapter, we are only just beginning to learn about extrasolar planets. Briefly describe one important but unanswered question related to the study of planets around other stars. Then write 2±3 paragraphs in which you discuss how we might answer this question in the future. Be as specific as possible, focusing on the type of evidence necessary to answer the question and how the evidence could be gathered. What are the benefits of finding answers to this question?
Step 1 of 4</p>
We have to discuss briefly one important but answered question related to the study of planets around the other stars.
One of the deepest outstanding questions concern how common solar systems like ours may prove to be and, more specifically, whether other Earth-like planets exist ?
(We have to note that here is an important distinction between Earth-size and Earth-like.)
The Kepler mission has already found many planet candidates that are Earth-size, but they are not Earth-like in the sense of having features like continents, oceans, plate tectonics,or life.
Learning whether other planets are Earth-like will probably occur in two steps:Firstly, we will need to find planets that are Earth-size and whose orbits should be such a way that it allows them to have liquid water on their surfaces. Second, we need some type of direct imaging or spectroscopy to learn whether these planets actually have oceans and atmosphere that might be harbourlife.
Step 2 of 4</p>
A wide range of techniques have been developed by scientists for trying to accomplish these observations, including many that rely on ground-based observatories. However, it’s likely that the greatest advances will come primarily in three ways:with ongoing observations by the Kepler mission, with the GAIA mission,and with efforts to obtain direct imaging and spectroscopy of extrasolar planets.