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The Final Frontier…

February 2, 2011
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A newfound planetary system has six worlds, five of which rank among the smallest known, and the list of unconfirmed candidates has swelled to four figures.

Thirty million kilometers away, trailing the pale blue dot that is Earth as it orbits the sun, is a spacecraft designed to find some of the countless other pale blue dots that may speckle the galaxy. NASA launched this spacecraft, known as Kepler, in 2009 to take a census of Earth-like planets in the hopes of figuring out how common—or how rare—are the conditions under which life has thrived here.

Kepler 11 planetary system

A CLOSE-KNIT GROUP: An artist’s impression of the densely packed Kepler 11 system shows three planets transiting in front of their host star simultaneously.Image: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

More Here.

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