NASA's Kepler mission: Searching for habitable planets
NASA's Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone, and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.
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Planet Kepler-10b orbits its star
"Kepler-10b orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the spacecraft is monitoring between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra. The star itself is very similar to our own sun in temperature, mass and size, but older with an age of over 8 billion years, compared to the 4-and-1/2 billion years of our own sun. Planet Kepler-10b is orbiting its star about 20 times closer than Mercury is to our own Sun. It takes less than one Earth day to orbit its star. It is the smallest exoplanet (a planet located outside our solar system) discovered to date."
View larger image: Planet Kepler-10b in orbit »
Read more: Kepler finds unlikely pair of planets orbiting distant star »