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What is the PLANETS Foundation?

Founded by a small international group of academic scientists, we aim to build a new class of optical telescope powerful enough to see continents on exoplanets like Proxima b. This new telescope can detect a wide range of biosignatures of simple and advanced life on several hundred exoplanets. Our members span the globe from from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United States.

The PLANETS Foundation was formed with the mission of accelerating exolife studies while engaging the general public in finding life beyond Earth.

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The PLANETS Foundation wants to create a world where the general public is interested and engaged in the direct optical search for life outside of the solar system. We invite you to help our efforts to conduct a survey of exolife on the nearest 100 exoplanets.

Our roadmap starts with new ideas that make telescopes lighter and much less costly than the large telescopes of the past like the Keck Telescopes or European Extremely  Large Telescope (EELT). You can read about our technologies on our telescopes page or in our detailed published research papers.

Our first step down this path is what we call the “PLANETS” telescope — an acronym that stands for “Polarized Light from Atmospheres of Nearby ExtraTerrestrial Systems.” While this instrument is unlikely to find “exo-life” it is a test of “low scattered light off-axis optics” and “thin mirror technology.” It will become a building block of the much larger ExoLife Finder Telescope.

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