Unearthing Earth-like Worlds: The Terra Hunting Experiment

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René Tronsgaard


Postdoctoral Fellow


University of Cambridge, United Kingdom


DKK 1,220,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


The Terra Hunting Experiment will search for Earth-like planets orbiting within the habitable zones of Sun-like stars. The habitable zone is the region around a star, where liquid water could potentially exist on the planet surface - a key ingredient to life as we know it. These planets would be obvious places to look for signs of life in the atmosphere with more powerful telescopes in the future.


This project has the potential to dramatically improve our understanding of planet formation and the possibility of life beyond Earth. If we can identify Earth-like planets within the habitable zone, it will allow estimates of how common such planets are in our galaxy, offering valuable insights into the processes that might create environments suitable for life.


The Terra Hunting Experiment will use a purpose-built spectrometer, HARPS3, to observe the same 20-40 stars every night for 10 years. However, the initial phase of the survey, which I will contribute to, focuses on getting the instrument ready, selecting targets, and developing the advanced data analysis methods that are necessary to filter out the faint planetary signals from the data.

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