Fighting to explore our universe

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The work of Notre Dame astrophysicist Justin Crepp could lead to the discovery of worlds similar to our own and revolutionize our understanding of the universe. For centuries, humankind has looked to the night sky in awe and wondered, “Are we alone?” The research of Justin Crepp, the Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics, may be able to answer just that. Prof. Crepp, a recipient of the NASA Early Career Fellowship and member of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) team, is building iLocater, a Doppler spectrometer that will detect habitable planets similar to Earth with more precision than ever before.

iLocater will receive starlight from the world’s most advanced telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), built by Steward Observatory and the University of Arizona. The LBT is a joint project of seven select partners worldwide, including Notre Dame. Once installed on the LBT, Prof. Crepp’s iLocater will be able to identify Earth-like planets in zones once beyond our comprehension and will assist NASA’s TESS space mission in determining which planets could support life.

Originally published at nd.edu on September 05, 2014.