Professor of Astronomy Astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Research Interests: Detection and characterization of extrasolar planets, with the goal of studying inhabited worlds. In pursuit of this goal I also pursue novel ground-based and space-based instrumentation, and studies of stellar astrophysics.
Phillips Professor of Astronomy Director, Origins of Life Initiative Senior Advisor in the Sciences for Advanced Study
Research Interests: Professor Sasselov studies, among other things, extrasolar planets, and he's a co-investigator on NASA's Kepler mission, which is monitoring 100,000 stars in a three-year hunt for exoplanets -- including Jupiter-sized giants. Sasselov watches for exoplanets by looking for transits, the act of a planet passing across the face of its star, dimming its light and changing its chemical signature. This simple, elegant way of searching has led to a bounty of newly discovered planets.