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New discoveries, new destinations

In August 2004, astronomers took one step closer to discovering earthlike planets outside our solar system.
On August 31, 2004, astronomers announced the discovery of a new class of extrasolar planets — planets beyond our solar system — far smaller than any previously detected. As director of NASA's Astronomy and Physics Division, and in charge of the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission, Anne Kinney took special interest in this landmark discovery of Neptune-size planets. Within the next decade, TPF will commence its search for earthlike planets floating in deep space. The discovery of Neptune-size planets provides hope to those involved in TPF's mission that earthlike planets — and life — exists beyond our solar system.

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