Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds
Inhabiting Other Earths
The stated goal of exoplanet astronomy is to find a planet like our own. This chapter explores several research efforts, including Debra Fischer’s work at a Chilean observatory to find an Earth-like planet around the star nearest to our Sun, the Kepler Space Telescope and its search for Earth’s twin, and speculative work on how Earth might be observed by an alien. In moving between the concrete setting of the observatory, a telescope in space, and thought experiments, this chapter explores what it means to observe in astronomy today. Even as these scientists search for another Earth, they do so in a way that is increasingly disengaged from this planet.