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NASA Looks for New Earths with Launch of Kepler

 - Mar 8, 2009
References: & latimes
Friday was the big day for the launch of the spaceship/telescope Kepler, as it successfully soared into space with the goal of finding planets similar to earth.

The Kepler mission, which will cost close to $600 million over a 3.5-year period, will gaze at about 150,000 stars close to the constellations Lyra and Cygnus.

Goals for the initiative are to search for planets that are in what is called the "habitable zone," which would require the presence of liquid water on the surface of the planet.

The major difference between Kepler and the existing Hubble Space Telescope is that the Hubble’s field of view is far smaller than Kepler’s, with Kepler able to widen its viewing range by 33,000 times over Hubble’s viewing range.