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.