To date, the Kepler space telescope has found more than 1,200 likely planets orbiting stars beyond the sun quite a haul for a satellite that’s been flying for just over two years. The true prize Kepler is hunting for, of course, is not just any planet, but one that’s a twin of Earth about the size of our world, orbiting in a zone where the temperature range is like ours
The orbiting Kepler telescope is all about the numbers. How many stars have planets
Calling it a mission that may fundamentally change humanity’s view of itself, NASA on Friday prepared to launch a telescope that will search our corner of the Milky Way galaxy for Earth-like planets. The Kepler spacecraft is scheduled to blast into space on top of a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida just before 11 p.m. ET.
The U.S. space agency NASA will launch its first ever mission Friday to find Earth-like planets in our region of the Milky Way. Scientists will be holding their breath as the Kepler spacecraft — mounted with the biggest telescope ever to be launched into space — lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
As NASA prepares to hunt for Earth-like planets in our corner of the Milky Way galaxy, there’s new buzz that "Star Trek’s" vision of a universe full of life may not be that far-fetched. Pointy-eared aliens traveling at light speed are staying firmly in science fiction, but scientists are offering fresh insights into the possible existence of inhabited worlds and intelligent civilizations in space. There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book “The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets.” He made the prediction based on the number of “super-Earths” — planets several times the mass of the Earth, but smaller than gas giants like Jupiter — discovered so far circling stars outside the solar system.