With the launch of new space telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope, exciting advances in astronomy and astrobiology are expected to continue into the foreseeable future. This section discusses what astronomers hope to find in terms of exoplanets in the near future. The investigative cycle involves prediction, observation, and interpretation. Currently we find ourselves in all three phases at once as we attempt to make predictions about the future of exoplanet discoveries, observe the Cosmos using our current technologies, and interpret the data that we already have so that future improvements and predictions can be made. In terms of the potentially habitable planets that have already been discovered, we are still awaiting the atmospheric data needed to characterize them fully. We are hopeful that we will soon be able to attain this data through the use of the James Webb Telescope, the Gaia Telescope, and other future technological advances.
Direct imaging of Giant Planets
Higher spectral resolution data is needed to answer outstanding questions regarding Giant Planets. We foresee this happening with more observations of transiting Hot Jupiters with the launch of the JWST. This telescope will hopefully be able to directly image more of these of young Hot Jupiters far from their stars to provide the further data that is needed.
Transiting Hot Jupiters and Hot Neptunes
Again, with the launch of the JWST and Gaia, as well as other technological advances, scientists hope to perform spectroscopic analyses of Hot Jupiter and Hot Neptune planets during transiting events. This information will complement data already attained from telescopes like Hubble and Kepler.
Transiting Super Earths
With the launch of the JWST and Gaia, humanity will enter a new era of astrobiology and (hopefully) view a multitude transiting Super Earths. Scientists hope to attain information about Super Earth atmospheres, which is difficult with the current technology due to their small size and relatively low luminosity.
Future Detection & characterization of Earth Analogs
In what could be called the 'holy grail' of current astrobiological efforts, it is hoped that scientists will finally gain insight into the atmospheric components of Earth Analogs. Currently, assessments can be made of their planetary characteristics from their size and distance from their star, but atmospheric analysis is still necessary to determine whether or not there is liquid water on the surface or other important biosignatures in their atmospheres. No current plans are in place for instruments that will be able to collect this data, but efforts are in place to work towards this goal.