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Telescope to find new Earth

NASA unveiled a telescope on Friday with a sweeping mission - to discover if there are any Earth-type planets orbiting distant stars.

Though astronomers have found more than 330 planets circling stars in other solar systems, none has the size and location that is believed to be key to supporting life.

"A null result is as important as finding planets," said Michael Bicay, director of science at NASA's Ames Research Center.

The Kepler telescope is scheduled for liftoff on March 5. Once in position, it will spend at least three and a half years focused on a star-rich patch of sky.

Scientists say it will be a bit like trying to spot a gnat in the glare of a floodlight.


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