NASA will be making a “major announcement” later today, Wednesday, February 22, and according to the agency, the information it will be making public will have something to do with exoplanets. NASA has been very mysterious and tight-lipped about the pending announcement, which is slated to take place at 1:00 p.m. EST (6:00 p.m. GMT) at the NASA Washington D.C. headquarters, aside from the teaser that it will include new findings about those mysterious planets orbiting far-away stars.
As Fox News reports, the major NASA announcement has already become very highly anticipated, and speculation is running rampant regarding what NASA could possibly have to tell the world later today. In a press release which was made available to the public and media on Monday, NASA only made clear that whatever they are revealing today will include a new discovery made “beyond our solar system.”
The major NASA announcement will be attended by a handful of the nation’s top scientists, as well as NASA leadership. Included among the participants in today’s briefing will be the associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, Thomas Zurbuchen, as well as lauded scientists and experts from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MIT, and NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech.
Apparently, the major NASA announcement coming later this afternoon will include information that is not new to people in the know. In fact, it has been reported that soon-to-be-revealed major announcement features research and discoveries that have been embargoed by the scientific journal, Nature. That embargo will reportedly expire at 1:00 p.m. EST today, and NASA will make the information public immediately thereafter.
As CNET reports, sources at the publication have been made privy to the information at the heart of the upcoming major NASA announcement, and they are calling the upcoming release some of the biggest news to come out of NASA for a while; at least regarding exoplanets. In fact, according to CNET, today’s will be the biggest such announcement since news of an exoplanet that could potentially harbor life (or at least possibly be habitable by humanity) orbiting the star closest to our sun.
The publication adds that today’s NASA announcement could be history making; maybe even the stuff of legends and the catalyst for the written works of the future.
“…let’s just say it could very easily provide us with new settings for many future works of science fiction.”
Today’s major NASA announcement comes on the heels of a big announcement from the international astronomy community just last week. At that event, it was made known that a whopping 60 new exoplanets had been recently discovered, all circling stars close (relatively speaking) to our own solar system.
One such planet was even referred to as a giant, rocky “super Earth.”
In addition to the announcement of the confirmed discovery of 60 new exoplanets, international astronomers also announced that their research had provided evidence of another 54.
Whatever is going to be included in today’s major NASA announcement, the space agency is pulling out the big guns when it comes to those who will be participating in the announcement. Because of the scientific firepower behind the pending announcement, some are even speculating that NASA may be announcing the discovery of some kind of extraterrestrial life.
Of course, that hasn’t been confirmed and is purely speculative. However, the discovery of life on an exoplanet (even simple life) would be the biggest announcement in the history of space exploration.
Because NASA hasn’t come right out and suggested that today’s announcement is quite on that level, it’s unlikely to be of that caliber.
Whatever is going to be included in today’s major announcement, NASA believes that it is going to leave people wanting more. As such, the announcement will be followed up with a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, which will be manned by the scientists taking point at the major NASA announcement press conference. Included among the Reddit participants is lead author Michael Gillion, who hails from the University of Liege in Belgium, and he will also be on tap for the mysterious NASA press conference beforehand.
If you want to check out the major NASA announcement live and in real time, the space agency will be live streaming the event on NASA TV. You can watch history as it happens by clicking here.
Alternatively, you can watch the announcement below.
What do you think NASA is going to announce today? Could it be signs of advanced alien life echoing from a distant exoplanet? Evidence that an exoplanet is likely to harbor microbial life? A new exoplanet that mirrors Earth and could possibly provide humanity with a “Plan B”? What are your thoughts regarding today’s major NASA announcement?
[Featured Image by Andrii Myronov/Shutterstock]