Telescope Goes on Planet Hunt

Thursday, Apr 16, 2009  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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Telescope Goes on Planet Hunt

NASA

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NASA's new planet-hunting telescope beamed back the first images of a patch of faraway sky in the Milky Way galaxy where it is searching for Earth-like planets.

NASA on Thursday released several images snapped by Kepler earlier this month, including a view of a distant part of our galaxy containing some 14 million stars. Scientists say more than 100,000 of those stars are potential candidates for research.

Launched in March, Kepler will spend 3 1/2 years studying these stars in search of small, rocky planets.

The $600 million mission will begin searching after engineers tune up Kepler's science instruments in the next few weeks.

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