SC17: Alan Hale

Discoverer of the Hale-Bopp Comet

Alan Hale's research interests include the search for planets beyond the solar system, including those which might have favorable environments for life; stars like the sun; minor bodies in the solar system, especially comets and near-Earth asteroids; and advocacy of spaceflight. He is primarily known for his work with comets, which has included his discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1995 and his participation in the International HalleyWatch during the return of Halley's Comet in 1986. In recent years he has worked to increase scientific collaboration between the U.S. and other nations, including Iran (wherein he led two delegations of American scientists, students, and educators to that country, one of these efforts being held in conjunction with the August 11, 1999 total solar eclipse), Zimbabwe, and Lebanon. As a result of these efforts in 2009 he was named the New Mexico state finalist in that year's "Above and Beyond" Awards program (administered by the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Society).

Exoplanet discoveries as they relate to Icarus Interstellar

The flood of recent exoplanet discoveries, and in particular those contained within the final (and earlier) releases of the Kepler Exoplanet Catalog, contains important lessons for what we might expect among the nearby stellar population. In a general sense, this presentation will focus upon the types of planets and planetary systems that are likely orbiting around nearby stars that are potential destinations for Icarus Interstellar and similar efforts. Areas of future research will be identified and discussed.