Florida Tech experiment looks for alien planets

By Jerry Hume, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, May 08, 2017, 8:24 AM EDT

Researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology are waiting for the latest test picture from a device installed at the International Space Station.

  • New device helps find planets that might be obscured by bright, nearby star

Florida Tech’s Daniel Batcheldor and his team came up with the Charge Injection Device (CID) as a way to help one day find possible alien life.


The Charge Injection Device was installed to the exterior of the ISS last month and just sent back its first of many test pictures. (News 13)

The CID was a part of the cargo that launched from a SpaceX rocket back in February.

The device was installed to the exterior of the ISS last month and just sent back its first of many test pictures.

The CID can detect planets that might otherwise be obscured by a bright star nearby. It is those planets, close to stars, that could harbor life.

“The Charge Injection Device works by monitoring how bright the pixels are individually in the camera, when the pixels get a lot of light from the star, those pixels can reset themselves very quickly without affecting any of the other pixels, the pixels that are gathering the faint light from the planet,” said Batcheldor.

The CID from Florida Tech is only an experiment to test how the device handles the harsh conditions of outer space.

Eventually, if the technology proves successful, it will be added to future space-telescopes to find those hard to spot planets and perhaps alien life.