An artist's illustration of an Earth-like planet. The search for planets that are similar to Earth is one of NASA's main goals. Many planets have already been discovered orbiting other stars, but so far only larger planets (the size of Jupiter or larger) have been found. New missions are being planned by NASA which will be able to detect smaller Earth-sized planets. Some of these missions will also try to detect signs of life on these planets by studying emissions in their atmospheres.


New Video Sees Earth from Alien Perspective

18 July 2008

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has made a movie of the moon passing in front of the Earth from the probe's vantage point millions of miles away.

Astronomers plan to use the video to develop techniques to look for Earth-like worlds in other solar systems.

"Making a video of Earth from so far away helps the search for other life-bearing planets in the universe by giving insights into how a distant, Earth-like alien world would appear to us," said Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland and the principal investigator for the Deep Impact extended mission.

Deep Impact, which sent an impactor into comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, is currently 31 million miles away from Earth on its way to a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4, 2010.

During its cruise to Hartley 2, Deep Impact will be searching for extrasolar planets.

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What would Earth look like to alien astronomers? See Video!

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