Kepler Blasts Its Way Into Space on Mission to Search for Earth-Like Planets

Planet-hunting spacecraft launches

NASA’s planet-hunting spacecraft, Kepler, rocketed into space Friday night on a historic voyage to track down other Earths in a faraway patch of the Milky Way galaxy.

It’s the first mission capable of answering the age-old question: Are other worlds like ours out there? Kepler, named after the German 17th-century astrophysicist Johannes Kepler, set off on its unprecedented mission at 10:49 p.m. ET, thundering into a clear sky embellished by a waxing moon.

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Alan Boss: Trillions of Earth-Like Planets May Exist

We are not alone: ‘trillions’ of planets could be supporting life
The Times

Almost every star similar to the Sun probably has a life-harbouring planet like the Earth in orbit around it, a leading astronomer said yesterday. The discovery of hundreds of planets around distant stars in our galaxy suggests that most solar systems have a world like ours that is capable of supporting life, and many of them are likely to have evolved it, according to Alan Boss, of the Carnegie Institution in Washington.