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This NASA planet hunter is searching for worlds just like Earth

The goal of the craft is to assemble a map of 85 per cent of the sky and to suss out planets that are roughly 1 to 1.5 times the size of Earth

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is tentatively scheduled to launch on  April 16 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and focus on stars nearer than those analysed by NASA’s planet-seeker Kepler. Photo: NASA
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The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is tentatively scheduled to launch on April 16 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and focus on stars nearer than those analysed by NASA’s planet-seeker Kepler. Photo: NASA

Justin Bachman | Bloomberg Texas
Just 25 years ago, no one knew for sure whether the stars dotting our night skies had anything circling them that resembled planets, let alone one like Earth.

Then came a NASA planet-seeker called Kepler, which starting in 2009 began finding intriguing, tell-tale blips around stars other than our sun. Almost everywhere its cameras looked, a new blip was discovered, signifying a rich abundance of “exoplanets.” Kepler’s prodigious planet-spotting — more than 1,000 of the 3,700 discovered to date — was among the first astronomical endeavours to show that the basic pattern of our solar system appears to be common elsewhere.

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First Published: Mar 30 2018 | 1:31 AM IST

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