Terrestrial Planet Finder telescopes

Terrestrial Planet Finder telescopes

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Credit: T. HERBST (MPIA)/NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Terrestrial Planet Finder telescopes (TPF-I), computer artwork. The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) is a plan for a telescope system that will be capable of detecting extrasolar terrestrial planets. This particular system is termed the infrared astronomical interferometer (TPF-I), a network of small telescopes that float in precision formation to simulate a much larger, very powerful telescope. The interferometer will study all aspects of the planets, from their formation and development in disks of dust and gas around newly forming stars, to the temperature, size and placement of planets as small as the Earth. However, as of April 2007, the project has been deferred indefinitely due to a lack of funding.

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