News FocusPlanetary Science

Seeking a Snapshot of an Alien World

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Science  25 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5385, pp. 1940-1942
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.1940

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Now that we know extrasolar planets are out there, astronomers are gearing up to photograph one. But the job will require a sizable fleet of space observatories, capable of flying in precise formation with their relative positions controlled to minute precision, a technology that is still in its infancy. Space agencies are now planning a series of missions with the aim, by about 2020, of imaging features on a distant Earth-like planet.