Included in the nation's new vision for space is a plan for NASA to "conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars." To meet this challenge, NASA has chosen to fly two separate missions with distinct and complementary architectures to achieve the goal of the Terrestrial Planet Finder.
The purpose will be to take family portraits of stars and their orbiting planets, and to study those planets to see which, if any, might be habitable, or might even have life. Both missions would launch within the next 10 to 15 years.
The two missions are:
A review of these two plans will be conducted over the summer by NASA and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics. Two other architectures that were studied, the large visible coronagraph and the structurally connected infrared interferometer, will be documented and further studies concluded this summer.
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Astrobiologist Helps NASA Search For Life On Other Planets
Tucson - Jan 12, 2004
One of the tough parts about finding life on other planets is knowing where to look. A University of Arizona researcher has made a list of 17,000 stars that might be orbited by habitable planets. Starting in 2015, NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) will look at the top 30 stars from her list.
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