This is one of many new and exciting missions coming up for NASA. The Kepler mission is designed to survey nearly 100,000 stars in our galaxy and identify Earth-like planets in or near what we descibe as "the habitable zone". We have only discovered, to my knowledge, one planet so far that is even close to Earth in any measureable way. Here it is. Interestingly the article states :
"Boss says we could learn a lot more if scientists launched a space telescope that is specially designed to look at faraway planets. NASA has one in development called the Terrestrial Planet Finder, but it has been delayed indefinitely by budget woes.
"Things like Terrestrial Planet Finder are no longer really in the active NASA plan," Boss says. "
Well, now we know that the search for ET continues. This telescope will help astronomers rid themselves of Earth based observation problems. And undoubtedly the answer to an enduring question may ratchet up another level.
And it all starts this year on March 5th. And then the three and a half year fixation on a point in the sky. A small portion of our galaxy , but hopefully worth the look.