actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

TechnologyIamA Robotics Engineer at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories. AMA!

Feb 22nd 2017 by LockheedMartin • 15 Questions • 83 Points

Hi everyone! We're back! Today is Day of Remembrance, which marks the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. I am here with my great aunt, who was incarcerated in Amache when she was 14 and my grandmother who was incarcerated in Tule Lake when she was 15. I will be typing in the answers, and my grandmother and great aunt will both be answering questions. AMA

link to past AMA

Proof

photo from her camp yearbook

edit: My grandma would like to remind you all that she is 91 years old and she might not remember everything. haha.

Thanks for all the questions! It's midnight and grandma and my great aunt are tired. Keep asking questions! Grandma is sleeping over because she's having plumbing issues at her house, so we'll resume answering questions tomorrow afternoon.

edit 2: We're back and answering questions! I would also like to point people to the Power of Words handbook. There are a lot of euphemisms and propaganda that were used during WWII (and actually my grandmother still uses them) that aren't accurate. The handbook is a really great guide of terms to use.

And if you're interested in learning more or meeting others who were incarcerated, here's a list of Day of Remembrances that are happening around the nation.

edit 3: Thanks everyone! This was fun! And I heard a couple of stories I've never heard before, which is one of the reasons I started this AMA. Please educate others about this dark period so that we don't ever forget what happened.

Q:

What did you study in college?

A:

How stable is the planet configuration of the system? Has it reached a stability over long timescales like our solar system has, or is it a relatively young system were we would expect the bodies to still coalesce into larger objects over time?


Q:

What do you wish that non Japanese had done in response to the order?

A:

I studied Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at Cornell University.


Q:

The stability of the system is still unclear, because it is a complex dynamical system, the planets' masses are not yet precisely determined, we don't know yet the orbital period of the 7th planet, and there could be more planets. More on this soon!

A:

great aunt: I don't know. I was 14. I didn't care at the time

grandma: Haha. You could be like my Chinese neighbors that wore a sign that said "I am Chinese, not Japanese"

great aunt: I don't know. I never really thought about that. It's hard to give an answer. When I was older I thought, you know, they shouldn't have done that. But when I was 14 I was very naive and I didn't think about that

grandma: I thought it was totally unfair because I am an american


Q:

What kind of hours do you work in a given week?

A:

Does TRAPPIST-1 itself pose any hazards to the planets like radiation or flares?


Q:

This is awesome that your grandmother/great aunt are willing to do this.

My grandmother and grandfather were also former internment camp incarcerees. I was wondering what their perception was towards the forced internment during the whole ordeal and, now, looking back in retrospect??

After asking my grandmother about these things, it's surprising that she recounts it being a relatively fun time in her life. However, she was still a very little girl, about 6, so all she did was play. She said her older brothers/sisters and parents were much more stressed about it

A:

40 hours with occasional overtime - Alex


Q:

TRAPPIST-1 shows one flare (eruption) every week and a strong one every 6 months. Its X ray activity is not yet very well known and could be also a thread for any life there. But if the planets have an atmosphere and magnetic field this could limit the level of high energy flux. This is still work under investigation to estimate those levels.

A:

My great uncle says it was fun for him too. He lived on a farm far away from anyone Japanese. Suddenly as a teenager he was surrounded by all these Japanese friends and Japanese girls his age. He had a blast.


Q:

Does that mean your part of SkunkWorks?

A:

My question is simple... What's next? I mean I'm sure all the excitement of discovering and announcing this find is still fresh but what are the next steps involved in finding out more about this discovery? What information do you think is "discoverable" about this system in the near future?


Q:

How do you feel about actor George Takei being a "spokesperson" for those interred? Do you think the work he's done has helped in any particular way? What improvements could be made to make the current world more aware of what occurred?

A:

No, I work for Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/atl.html -Alex


Q:

NASA's Kepler/K2 is currently observing TRAPPIST-1! The spacecraft has been monitoring the brightness of the star since December 15, 2016 and will continue to do so until March 04, 2017. That's over 70 days of data. Scientists will be able to define the orbital period of the 7th planet. They may also be able to see a turnover (or reversal) in the transit timing variations which will allow scientists to refine the planet mass estimates. Perhaps we'll even find additional transiting planets. The raw data will be placed in the public archive immeiately after the observing campaign finishes. It should be available to community by March 6th. This is one of the many ways that scientists will be studying the TRAPPIST-1 system. - Natalie Batalha, Kepler Project Scientist

https://keplerscience.arc.nasa.gov/raw-data-for-k2-campaign-12-to-be-released-after-downlink.html

A:

grandma:There's a lot of people who never knew about our situation. A lot of people didn't know about it like my neighbor. Whenever I mentioned "camp" she thought I meant summer camp.

great aunt: That was the guy on star trek right? I noticed him because they finally got an Asian guy and I used to watch Star Trek. I think I saw wevery one in a while in the Pacific Citizen he would say something. One time he came to the Crocker Art Museum and I was like "oh well there he is"

young aunt: well they don't know about social media. So if they don't ever use social media they don't know him.

great aunt:I'm not a gopher. I just want to lean back and let everyone else do the work

grandma: Maybe if i was an advocate of something. But no one is going to listen to me now


Q:

As someone who is currently studying robotic engineering in college, what do you think is the best way to get experience (in the industry and practicals)?

A:

What is the protocol if you do find any signs of life on any of the exoplanets?


Q:

Thank you for doing this. I had grandparents also at Amache. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away in 2015 and grandfather passed away last July. I never had an opportunity to ask them about their experiences and, to be honest, worried that it wasn't something they would want to talk about. What would you recommend for yonseis who want to learn from their remaining nisei relatives and make sure this experience isn't forgotten by future generations? How should that conversation start?

A:

Internships and summer opportunities are a great way to get experience. Also look for opportunities at your university to get hands-on experience with actual platforms. -Alex


Q:

We do not yet have a protocol. Most likely we will make a tentative discovery, that will take longer to confirm. SS

A:

granddaughter here: Honestly I'm not sure. My grandma has always talked about her experience. It was mixed in with other stories about life in general. She also refers to everything as "before camp" and "after camp" so it had a pretty big impact on her life.

I recommend asking questions. That's how we recently got my great aunt to start talking about it.

I would also highly recommend visiting the camps. I went to Tule Lake and Manzanar with my grandmother when I was a teenager and going to the places brought back lots of memories and opened up whole new sets of questions and stories that weren't told before.

Shameless plug. Right now the National Parks Service is deciding what to do with Tule Lake, the camp where my grandma was incarcerated. You can put in your comments on what you would like to happen to the camps. I highly recommend submitting comments that Tule Lake should be preserved for future generations so we don't ever forget.


Q:

I'm currently studying mechanical engineering. I read you studied a minor in computer science, what made you want to work with robots in particular rather than airplanes? Also, what advice would you give to a prospective engineer? Thank you

A:

If you do find signs of life will it be a top priority to inform the public?


Q:

Hi! think I'm late... :(

I'm from Brazil, the country that has the biggest japanese colony. Here our grandparents were forbiden to give a japanese name to their children, to teach japanese in schools and other mild things.
But an interesting thing happened after the end of the war. Part of the community didn't believe in the defeat of Japan, they were so nacionalists that they thought that Japan was unbeatable and hiroshima and nagasaki was surreal at the time. Therefore they thought that the newspapers were lying, and that Japan actually won the war.
They formed a nacionalist group, called themselves kachigumi (winners), that encourage it's members to kill people that accepted the defeat, the makegumi (defeatist, or dirty hearts). How the japanese community in your country received the news about the defeat? And I wonder if your grandparents still have ties with relatives in Japan, here we lost all the connections with the japanese relatives, wich I think is sad.

A:

Robotics is multi-disciplinary and brings together mechanical, software and electrical engineering. Robotics allows you to work with multiple platforms such as aerial, underwater or ground. To me, it felt like a better fit. - Alex


Q:

It's part of our charter that NASA "provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof," so, yes, we would inform the public. -- Stephanie

Here's a link to the charter: https://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/space_act1.html

A:

grandma: I'm sure we were happy because it would mean we would finally leave camp because the war was over. For some thing Tule Lake had more pro-japanese people than other camps. that's why most of us were in Tule Lake. We were there because we were all from Sacramento. We went from Walerga to Tule Lake. There were a lot of people in there because they were pro-Japan. Very few though.

granddaughter: Weren't you also no-no though?

grandma: yeah i was no-no. but that's not how i felt. I wasn't going to send my parents back to japan where they didn't know what the conditions are. Just because they are japanese doesn't mean they'd be okay there. In other words we would be going just to protect them. Make sure bad things don't happen to them.


Q:

Are all the robots that LM is working on autonomous? If not, are the robots typically controled using a controller?

A:

that was your chance to use the phrase "prime directive" in a serious way, you blew it


Q:

Where were you incarcerated? How old were you when you were released? What types of discrimination did you face when you were released?

A:

Controlling robots with a controller is what we call teleoperation. The work that I do is more focused on making autonomous robots. -Alex


Q:

LOL, we don't have a "prime directive," but we do have Planetary Protection policy. It's sort of like the prime directive, but very real. Basically, we don't want to go looking for life only to find that we brought it with us from Earth. Read more here: https://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/ -- Stephanie

A:

Tule Lake. Well first I went to Walerga temporary detention center

18.

I didn't because I went right back to Japan town. There was no discrimination there. My parents bought a house for me and my sister and they lived in an apartment across the street. [My parents] rented out space in the house for isseis (first generation Japanese Americans) so they had a place to stay. My mother cooked for them. I think my parents did a good job. I am very proud of what they did.


Q:

Which project are you primarily working on currently?

A:

So do you call it the prime directive internally? Please?


Q:

Wow, so cool that they owned 2 homes so that they could help others! How many first generation Japanese Americans did your family host? Did new people come in as the other ones left (kinda like a typical bed & breakfast), or did they mainly rent it out to just one family for a really long time?

A:

I am currently working on control algorithms to enable swarms of autonomous platforms. -Alex


Q:

For me personally, inside my brain, sure. :) I guess that's very "internal." -- Stephanie

A:

I, the granddaughter, can answer most of this question. They hosted a lot of single men that would work in the farms and send money to their families. They did this before and after the war. New people came in as other ones left and my grandma and her siblings would cook the food and clean the rooms.


Q:

Do you have a shortlist of key books or publications novices or those interested in learning robotics should read?

A:

Great presentation everyone! When/how will you be able to determine if there are signs of an oxygen rich atmosphere?

There was a lot of speculation before the conference that you may have already detected that.


Q:

I just find this AMA really facisnating. My girlfriend's grandma was also incarcerated for being Japanese. She's 90 also lived in japan town... SF? Not sure if that's the same one but very interesting.

A:

To keep up with the current trends in robotics, I like to read: http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics -Alex


Q:

It's going to be awhile before we find an oxygen rich atmosphere. JWST launch in fall 2018, so we will have to wait to try until sometime after that. It turns out some oxygen-rich atmospheres might exist that are not created by life, so to associate oxygen will require care. I hope we will be able to find, identify, and announce in a few years! --SS

A:

There was a Japan town in Sacramento and that's where my grandma lived. There's only a couple left - LA, SF, San Jose, and Seattle I believe.

After they were evacuated others took over the buildings and many were unable to return to their homes after the war.

Then governments built freeways and other sorts of projects through the middle of them. After most Japanese folks settled in a different area of town, the government decided to build a freeway straight through it.


Q:

As robots start becoming more and more helpful in human society with increasingly important role, some people might start getting sentimental against robots, how wouod designer of robots reduce such sentiment?

A:

What are the most promising ways to search a planet that far away for life, assuming it is not intelligent enough to broadcast signals outward?


Q:

What sorts of things did you do to make life "easier" in the concentration camps? Do you have any stories of creative things people did to organize events / build community?

A:

We are working on how to build trust in human-robot teams. Having something as simple as Amazon Echo in your apartment is the first step to normalizing human-machine interaction. -Alex


Q:

We will look at the atmosphere for gases that do not belong--gases that might be attributed to life. We will not know if the gases are produced by microbial life or by intelligent alien species. --SS

A:

great aunt: Whatever you do when you're 15 or 16. You go to school. We just kind of hung around and I don't know. I'd go over to my friend's place.

grandma: Did you live in the same block?

great aunt: We met in high school and we lived in separate blocks. During the winter when it was snowing we'd just see each other in school and then go home and do homework. They used to have dances and we used to go.

(granddaughter: lol sorry the answer to this question is so short. We got interrupted by the news that the Kings traded away Cousins. My family are hardcore Kings fans.)


Q:

What is your opinion on technical certificates? Do you feel that they properly prepare people for the work that they would be doing at Lockheed? Or does the company more rely on internal training

A:

Hey guys! Love this discovery, I got chills when I saw the headline.

My question is regarding the orbits of these planets. How exactly do yall think the planets' gravity is affecting the other planets?

If the innermost planets are tidally locked, would they get slightly disrupted by passing other planets?

Are their orbits not entirely elliptic? Could they be slightly "wavy" due to other planets' gravitational pulls?

Thanks for doing this AMA! I hope my question doesn't get lost in the masses :)


Q:

DI'd you have enough to eat? How were the conditions in the camp? We're they as bad as the German camps?

A:

Here at the Advanced Technology Laboratories, getting a graduate degree is more relevant and common than technical certificates, but I don’t know how it is for the rest of the company. -Alex


Q:

So glad we can finally share the chills! The planets' gravity is affecting each other in leading to what we call transit timing variations (TTVs) which is at the basis of how we can estimate the masses of the TRAPPIST-1 planets. When planets are close together and their orbits are in a certain spacing, they interact with each other through gravity, causing the timing of their transits to change a little as the planets tug on each other. By measuring this change, we can determine the mass of the planets. By knowing precisely the size and mass of the planets, we can determine their bulk density, and geophysicists can then help us better understand their interiors.

Then next to this, there will most likely be some tidal heating and significant tides on the planets that would be water worlds!

The constraints on the orbital eccentricity of the planets are a work in progress and the amplitude of the effects described above will depend strongly on those. So let's see!

It is really just the beginning for the exploration of this system. Spitzer helped us lift the fail on its architecture, now we can initiate its characterization--the venture for the generation to come!

J.d.W.

A:

great aunt:No there's no comparison.

(FYI they're talking about the Nazi camps. There was a POW camp next to Tule Lake, and the folks there were free to roam)

grandma:We always had enough to eat. We never worried about that. You may not get what you want, but we had enough to eat.

great aunt:We always got liver. They used to dump it on us. How many isseis do you know that eat liver? We never had liver our whole life but there you are.

grandma:We had liver but we had a good cook so I ate it. It was edible. I didn't mind.

great aunt:The food was okay. But you had a good cook in the mess hall they would make it japanese-like. In block 7-H the cook used to be an actual cook. So they always had food that was geared towards japanese tastes.

grandma:Everyone always knew who the good cooks were and sometimes people would come to your block to eat. They weren't supposed to.

great aunt:They did the best they could.

grandma:But there was a variety. I enjoyed working at the hospital. I enjoyed working at the cafeteria. Especially the baby food. Every afternoon at 3 pm we had to serve baby food and milk to mothers every afternoon at 2:30 or 3 o'clock. They'd start lining up and we'd feed it to them. Our cook was one of the best. So after the war he cooked for a church so we'd go once a month and eat delicious pancakes at the church. Sometimes there was a sugar shortage. In the winter we'd have to wait outside to get into the mess hall. Sometimes the men would make clogs so we'd wear those. I didn't do this but sometimes people wore them all year long. Sometimes young people would come with friends to the mess hall. You weren't supposed to go to other mess halls but sometimes they would come. My father made sake in the barrack. You weren't supposed to. You'd get the left over rice and make sake out of it.

My sister: Were there any bad incidents?

(My sister is trying to get my grandma to tell the story about how guards came into the barrack and dumped out the sake)

great aunt:I think every camp had one incident. It's just like anything. Sometimes some people ratted you out. People were mad that they didn't get their share of something and they'd rat you out.

my sister:Did you interact with the soliders every day?

great aunt:Oh no they were on the outside. They were in the guard towers. We used to wave to them. In Merced assembly center right on the other side of the barbed wire was grapes. Sometimes people would put knives at the end of a stick and you'd cut off a grape. The guards... they didn't care.

grandma:You weren't supposed to go near the fence and one person did go near the fence and he was shot.

great aunt: We never had any incidents like that. Like I said in Merced they didn't mind. But in Amache it was a desert and it was large so I don't know

grandma: The first day we went to the assembly centers and you went to the bathrooms and it was just a bench with holes and no dividers. Everyone kept peeking in to make sure no one was in there. That was the worst

great aunt: Most of the camps... I can't say that. But in Amache they were pretty civilized. I never heard of anything bad. But if something happened in a far away block maybe I never heard about it.


Q:

How do i make sure that I get a similar job?

I am a junior studying mechanical engineering, but I don't currently have a plan for a minor (working on that right now actually). I have been in robotics clubs since middle school, and I'm on the mechanical team for the Autonomous underwater vehicle team. I'm decent with solidworks, and I already know that I need to work more on coding. I want to work with animatronics, manufacturing, or exploration. Any tips for me?

Also, my college is close enough to a lockheed martin facility that planes constantly fly over my apartment.

A:

Literally just signed up to ask this question because I think it's interesting to think about. I also asked on Twitter, and I'm nothing if not repetitive and persistent and redundant.

In order to give context for the laypeople out there: if we had the same intelligence & instruments, what would we know about Earth if we looked from a TRAPPIST exoplanet?

EDIT: Wow, thanks to everyone for the lovely comments and to /u/Mr_Sassypants for the gold! I don't know what it does, but I do appreciate it! Is everyone's first day on Reddit this welcoming?


Q:

How strong was the resentment against white people? I assume grudges were held afterwards, but what was the general feeling once you got out?

A:

You're on the right track! My advice to you would be to get your hands dirty in some internships for real world experiences. Best of luck! -Alex


Q:

The next generation of space telescopes, after WFIRST and JWST, to be launched in the 2030's. would be capable of actually getting a spectrum of the Earth, separate from the sun, using an instrument called a coronagraph or a star shade. The current telescopes could measure the size of the Earth as it transits in front of the sun. However, that only happens only once per year, so you have to know when to look, or look for a long time. The latter strategy was adopted by the original Kepler Mission. Michael Werner

A:

No I didn't hate white people

Sister: did you hate the president?

grandma: No it was 4 years later.

great aunt: I don't know. I was 18.

younger aunt: vWere you mad at the government?

grandma: No

younger aunt: Well did you think your rights were violated?

grandma: I thought it was a violation of my rights of course. I'm an american citizen why would they blame me for what japan did? My parents weren't mad. If they were I'm sure it would've rubbed off on me. My parents never sounded resentful over what happened. It was something that just happened. Shikata ga nai. There's nothing you can do about it. I think it's a good word because why carry your resentment?

I think my dad did very well. We didn't suffer

younger aunt:I don't think they would have told you They didn't even live with you when they got out of camp. So you didn't really see them.

grandma:We never felt desperate. When we came back we had a place in an alley and we had one room and that's how we started.

okay so some background information. There's this common phrase in JA culture kodomono tame ni which means "for the sake of the children". So it's common knowledge that parents didn't show that they were suffering and put on happy faces so that the children didn't hold resentment. My grandma and great aunt were teenagers and young adults around this time. I think that's what my younger aunt was attempting to nail down.


Q:

If life is discovered on any of these exoplanets, How long would it probably take from time of discovery to an actual announcement to the public? Would that time differ depending on the types of life found? Would it take longer to disclose sentient beings than it would to disclose microbial life?

A:

What did you think of the executive order? Did you think it was racist of any sort, or did you think that it was for the "safety" of America at war?


Q:

That is a great question and something that has been thought about a lot by many different organizations. There is a great article on this by SETI scientist Dr Duncan Forgan https://arxiv.org/abs/1605.02947 which looks at many different scenarios in the age of 24 hour news and social media - HW

A:

great aunt: I don't know. Who cares? I'm 14. I don't care. But later on they say that it was political. So you should check into it and see how political it was

grandma: but it was sure hard on people who had businesses and whatever. Sometimes people just disappeared and you didn't know until a few years later. The government would just take them.


Q:

Hello, and congratulations and thank you for this discovery! You people are doing amazing work. I have 2 questions for you.

  1. Do we know what kind of a gravity compared to Earth or Mars appears on those 3 planets that could have water in them?

  2. Can we expect to have the technology in the next 20-30 years that we could for see for sure that there would be life in those planets in form of vegetation?

A:

I've recently been to Poland and visited some of the concentration and death camps. There we've had heard some testimonials from people who have escaped. Have you ever considered escaping, knew someone who did, or heard of people who escaped?


Q:

To answer your second question, in order to see vegetation and any other surface features (e.g. oceans, continents), we’ll need future telescopes beyond JWST that will be able to directly image exoplanets. JWST will observe planets transiting their host stars. Transits are when the planet passes between us and its star, and from these transits, we can observe how gases in the planet’s atmosphere interact with starlight passing through the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this technique doesn’t allow us to see the surfaces of exoplanets. To do that, we’ll need farther future technology that may become available in the coming decades that will allow us to block out the star’s light and observe the planets directly. Examples of these technologies are starlight suppression tools called coronagraphs and starshades. The planets we observe directly with these starlight suppression techniques will not be spatially resolved: they will literally be single points of light, but don’t despair because we can still learn a lot from single points of light! By analyzing the spectrum of colors in these points of light, we can search for signs of interesting gases (like water vapor and gases produced by life called biosignatures), and we can look for temporal changes in the light caused by processes like planetary rotation and seasonal variations. However, the TRAPPIST-1 planets, being so close to their host star, would likely be tricky to directly observe in this way. These starlight suppression technologies fail once you get too close to the star, and so these types of observations would be extremely difficult. Other planetary systems orbiting hotter stars may be detectable with these technologies, though! And on them, we’d be able to search for things like vegetation and other interesting signs of habitability and life. –G.A.

A:

great aunt:No. I mean life in camp....we were fed and we had a place to live. If there isn't someone young in the family that could speak English and make a living you wouldn't be able to make it. If you left a camp in germany you could kind of blend in with the population. If you left Heart Mountain or Amache or Tule Lake you'd stand out like a sore thumb. I don't remember anybody trying to escape. Maybe they were but I don't know


Q:

How long would it take with current technology to get to this solar system? Assuming it's a good few hundred years, what is the next step in finding out what's going on there?

A:

To the granddaughter:

I'm assuming that you were born and majoringly raised in the US, if this is wrong, please forgive me.

How does hearing these experiences shape your perspective of your country?
Does it make you feel closer to Japan than the US?
Furthermore, do you feel Japan is more your country than the US?
Has learning of these matters caused any sort of cultural identity crisis?

Some context on this last question, I was an exchange student to Japan, loved Japanese culture and pretty much feel Japan is my real home and culture. Now, because I'm white in the US and I tend to do things as close to as how I did them in Japan this rubs some Americans with Japanese ancestry the wrong way.

How can I be more sensitive to Americans with Japanese ancestry of your generation? (In regard to avoiding prejudice or exacerbating cultural identity crisis?)

Edit: I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has and continues to participate in this discussion it's been very educational, and am very grateful.


Q:

No technology yet to get to this new planetary system. Fledgling efforts, however, are underway to consider how to send tiny spacecraft to the nearest star which has one known planet. https://breakthroughinitiatives.org/Initiative/3 SS

A:

Hearing about these experiences prevent me from being blindly patriotic. America is great when people stand up for what is right and for "liberty and justice for all". That didn't happen in my family's case, and it makes me determined to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I definitely feel closer to the US. I went to Japan recently and while there is a small connection, I feel very deeply rooted in American culture. Well actually that's not really true. The 2nd-4th generation Japanese Americans have developed a very distinctly Japanese American culture that's a blend of the two and that's the culture I feel the connection to.

US is more my country without a doubt. I was born here. My parents were born here.

So my grandma is very strange in that she has always openly talked about her experiences in camp, so it's always just been a part of my life. So I never had an "aha" moment where I suddenly learned about it. I know my grandma is a pretty rare case, so I imagine the answer might be somewhat different for other JAs who learned of the experience later in life.

hmm. I'll have to think about the last question more. But for right now I would say to attend community events and to listen and learn from the people there. There's so much more to a culture than cool clothing and good food. It's kind of like a house; you wouldn't barge in and declare yourself a resident of the house and pretend like you've been living there your whole life. Be invited into the house, come to a community event, and come see how cool our house is.


Q:

So if we were to imagine earth as the planet closest to this star, how many of the other 6 planets would we have visited with satellites, rovers, manned orbits, manned landing, etc.?

I am trying to imagine how close they all are together in a way that is fun.

A:

Had the president made any public remarks that indicated he was capable of doing this or was it not a surprise? I'm sorry America did this to you, and I'm concerned our current government is capable of doing something similar.


Q:

Probably all of them! See this travel poster, artist's conception.https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/trappist1/#Poster SS

A:

grandma:I think the president at the time think he had the right to do it because Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor

I don't understand why he connects japan with Japanese Americans. Japanese Americans had nothing to do with what Japan did. Even my parents were shocked when it happened.


Q:

What are the primary impacts of being an earth sized world so close to a smaller, dimmer star? From the perspective of a human on the surface of such a world, I mean.

I read that all are tidally locked to the star - does that mean they'd only have habitability bands around the perimeter/twilight region?

A:

Tidal-locking: we think as long as there is an atmosphere (even a thin atmosphere like that on Mars) heat will circulate around the planet. So habitability location should extend beyond the limbs.


Q:

Do we know the age of the system and planets?

A:

not precisely because such little stars evolve very veryvery slowly ! they live for hundreds of billions years compare to 10 billions for our own Sun... we can say that it is older than 500 million years, but it could be several billions years and even older than our own system (4,7 Gyear)


Q:

What would be the temperatures on each of these planets and the most likely chemical compositions? Are they likely to have a magnetic field?

A:

Surface temperatures depend on the proximity to the central star but also on the composition and thickness of the planet's atmosphere. Since we do not yet know anything about the planetary atmosphere's, all we can say is how much energy a planet is receiving from the star compared to how much energy Earth receives from the Sun. However, because this planetary system is so nearby, scientists should be able to characterize the atmospheres with future instruments and observatories. That's one reason why we're so excited about this discovery. - Natalie Batalha


Q:

Any chance we could name these planets after the 7 dwarves?

A:

That would be a lovely idea.. With the TRAPPIST team, we were more considering using names of the few trappist beers ;) !

J.d.W.


Q:

What information will you guys receive from these planets if the James Webb telescope is ready and functional?

A:

NASA's upcoming James Webb Telescope, launching in 2018, will take over with a much higher sensitivity. It will be able to detect the chemical fingerprints of water, methane, oxygen, ozone, and other components of a planet's atmosphere. Farisa Morales


Q:

How is the habitable zone estimated for tidally locked planets? How does knowledge of this system affect theories of planetary formation?

A:

The habitable zone is estimated based on the luminosity of the star and recognizing how far away can you be from it such that water can exist in it's liquid form on the surface of a terrestrial planet like the earth. Too close and the water evaporates; too far and the water freezes solid. Thus, the habitable zone is independent of whether the planets are tidally locked or not. Farisa Morales


Q:

For the future of Exoplanet research, would it be more fruitful in your opinion to continue looking at different batches of stars for more planets, or would you rather we focus more closely on the planets that have already been found?

A:

Actually, we're going to do both! Certainly scientists will use tools like the Hubble Space Telescope and soon the James Webb Space Telescope (https://jwst.nasa.gov/) to study the planets that have already been discovered in an effort to learn more about them. At the same time, the Kepler/K2 mission (https://kepler.nasa.gov/) and soon the TESS mission (https://tess.gsfc.nasa.gov/) will continue the search for new planets, particularly those in our neighborhood of the galaxy. DMH


Q:

Detecting exoplanets by their transit of their sun presumes that our angle of observation of their sun crosses the path of the planet's orbit. Isn't that really unlikely? Or, are all planets orbiting on parallel planes?

A:

You're correct! Using the transit technique, we can only find the planets passing in front of their star from our perspective. And as not all planets are on aligned plans, not all planets can be detected with this technique. Fortunately, other techniques exist to help us detect non-transiting planets (e.g., radial-velocity, direct-imaging, and astrometry techniques, among others). J.d.W.


Q:

Hello,

I have few questions :

1.Given that numerous earth sized planets have already been discovered, what makes Trappist-1 system discovery different? Will it alter the way exoplanets are searched?

2.From https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/the-search-for-life/life-signs/

Even without listening in on their conversations, the aliens’ reasonably advanced technology would be known to us by its pollution.

If the aliens are sufficiently advanced, that they have mastered pollution and don't pollute, how would one know the difference?

3.How would discovery of intelligent life, affect geopolitics? Miss universe and similar contests?

4.Lastly, how did planet 9 go undetected for so long?

A:

Kepler taught us that temperate (i.e. Habitable Zone), terrestrial-sized planets are relatively common in the galaxy. The name of the game now is to find those near enough for atmospheric characterization. Of the few dozen Habitable Zone planets that have been detected to date, most are hundreds of light-years away whereas TRAPPIST-1 is just 40 light-years away. - Natalie Batalha


Q:

For the 9-12 year olds in my class, what space futures might these kids look forward to? What will we need from their generation of kids to make these space dreams possible in the future?

A:

It's an exciting time to be a kid, and to be an explorer! If students out there are interested in joining us here at NASA, taking as much math as possible is always good. That said, it's also important to study language arts, too, so that you can communicate your discoveries and innovations. In the meantime, check out the exoplanet travel posters for inspiration about worlds we might someday visit: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/alien-worlds/exoplanet-travel-bureau/ -- Stephanie


Q:

How long have NASA known about the discovery?

A:

What is really important about these types of discoveries is that they are checked by other scientists and confirmed external to the original team this is called the peer review process and has to occur before any scientific work is made public, to make sure we are giving the best information available -HW


Q:

How can a young aspiring astronomer like myself get involved in this kind of work? At my university it seems like undergrads get funneled directly into academia. What does it take to work at an institution like NASA? I've already started getting involved in research as a sophomore, and my dream research topic is exoplanets.

A:

There are many possibilities. You can log into the NASA Planet Quest site and see tools and data bases about the planets as they are discovered. Try logging into "Eyes on Exoplanets". JPL, Goddard, and other NASA centers have summer internships and lots going on in the world of exoplanets; this would be a good way for you to get some firsthand experience. Most NASA scientists like myself have PhDs but have chosen to work for NASA rather than in universities. You could start in a PhD program...possibly doing your research in direct conjunction with NASA, or working for a professor like Sara Seager who does lots of NASA-funded work on exoplanets. Following that, try for a postdoctoral position at a NASA center; many good postdocs go on to become regular NASA employees. I appreciate your interest! Michael Werner


Q:

Hi, and congrats on the amazing discovery! Although I'm aware we can't see the Trappist-1 star, where in the night sky would it be if we could see it?

A:

Aquarius is visible in the night sky in October. There's a nice graphic at the link below showing the position of the star in the constellation. Scroll down to the bottom of this page. Keep in mind that his particular star is too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. http://www.trappist.one/#about - Natalie Batalha, Kepler Project Scientist


Q:

Where can i find a video of this announcement? Seriously I can't find a video.

A:

Hi, you can see a replay of the news conference here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/100200725 -ERL


Q:

Hello from Liège :D

My question is about the host star. I read that red dwarf stars are likely to eject a lot of solar particles therefore the habitability of planets around this kind of stars is less. What about trappist-1 ?

A:

The stellar winds of ultracool dwarf stars like TRAPPIST-1 are significantly fainter than for more massive red dwarfs, because their atmospheres is cooler and thus less charged. Still, habitable conditions on the planets require them to have magnetic fields to protect the atmospheres from these stellar winds. We don't know if they have. If we detect dense atmospheres, this will make planetary magnetospheres very likely.


Q:

Which one of the new discoveries is the one your team is most excited about?

A:

The 3 planets e, f and g are the so called habitable zone and are the best candidates to harbor liquid water and... maybe... life !


Q:

In the presentation, one of the someone said that Spitzer was not originally designed to look for exoplanets and that it had to be re-engineered to do so. Assuming that the telescope stayed in space, how was this done?

A:

Observations such as those described today require precision much higher than 1%. At this level, we discovered in the initial data on exoplanets various "systematic effects" having to do with both the telescope and the instrument which made it difficult to achieve this level of performance. So the re-engineering really meant using the telescope and analyzing the data in new and different ways; this continues as we strive to achieve higher and higher precision. - M. Werner see spitzer.caltech.edu for more information.


Q:

When the JWST is launched, how will it be used to analyze this system? What will it be looking for, and what will it be able to tell us about these planets?

A:

We’ll want to search for signs of interesting gases in the atmospheres of these planets with JWST. A high priority gas we of course want to detect is water vapor since water is necessary for life as we know it and is a fundamental part of our definition of planetary habitability. We will need to stare at these targets for a long time with JWST to be able to collect sufficient signal from them for a chance at determining their atmospheric compositions. During transit events (when the planets pass in front of their star), gases in the planets’ atmospheres can absorb starlight, producing potentially detectable signals. These will be very difficult observations, however, and obtaining better constraints on these planets’ properties beforehand (e.g. their masses) can help disentangle the signals we obtain with JWST in the future. -G.A.


Q:

Why does the lettering start at 'b'? What happened to planet 'a'? Thanks!

A:

"a" is for the star main star. We start naming companions with "b" if it is a planet, with "B" if it is another star. J.d.W.


Q:

How can you know that existing life are in need of liquid water? We don't know anything about extraterrestrial life, do we? Just because we breathe oxygen and are dependent on water, does that mean that all other potential life have the same criteria?

A:

Very true! We have a very Earth-centric perspective on Life and habitability. But this is the beauty of exoplanetary science. We are exploring other worlds, finding unexpected planet types (e.g., hot-Jupiter, super-Earths), planets around completely different types of stars. All this is helping us broadening our perspective on planetary systems, which was based on a century-long study of our own system. Now, let's hope exoplanetary science will provide us with a similar perspective shift on habitability and Life--in the Universe! J.d.W.