Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Finding Earth's Twin

"NASA researchers have successfully demonstrated in the laboratory that a space telescope rigged with special masks and mirrors could snap a photo of an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. This accomplishment marks a dramatic step forward for missions like the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder, designed to hunt for an Earth twin that might harbor life."

Three simulated planets - one as bright as Jupiter, one half as bright as Jupiter and one as faint as Earth - stand out plainly in this image created from a sequence of 480 images captured by the High Contrast Imaging Testbed at JPL. The asterisk marks the location of the system's simulated star.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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