"It certainly means we've sent some element of ourselves, this technology, far into the solar system," she said. "Because of my working with astronomers, I do believe that they now imagine Pluto in a more profound or more specific way and can conjure a more robust imagination as a planetary sense."
Messeri's favorite part of the book is the search for an Earth-like exoplanet, which has particularly consumed astronomers on NASA's Kepler space telescope mission, as well as the aforementioned astronomers in Chile. Over the years, many rocky planets have been identified in the habitable zones of their stars.
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Messeri spent time in Chile discovering just how hard astronomers must work to learn more about these worlds. "The act of observing is more mundane," she said with a laugh. "I am not a night person, so having to do an all-nighter was in fact incredibly uncomfortable. I loved the astronomers I was there with, and excited to stay up each night chatting, but I also wanted so badly to be asleep."
As a next project, Messeri plans to look at the burgeoning world of virtual reality and how it helps astronomers better learn about other worlds. She added that astronomy changes so rapidly that it's worth revisiting certain topics every five to 10 years to see what developments have happened since. "That change is worth talking about and trying to understand," she said.
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