News From the Field
'Star Comb' Joins Quest for Earthlike Planets
March 6, 2012
If there is life on other planets, a laser frequency comb developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may help find it. Such a comb-a tool for precisely measuring frequencies, or colors, of light-has for the first time been used to calibrate measurements of starlight from stars other than the Sun. The good results suggest combs will eventually fulfill their potential to boost the search for Earth-like planets to a new level.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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