When NASA first started planning the Kepler mission, no one knew if the universe held any planets outside our solar system. Thousands of exoplanets later, the search enters a new phase.
The number of known exoplanets doubled this week to more than 3,200. But why have only a handful of these those new planets caught people's imagination?
Astronomers were looking forward to the first high-res X-ray spectra from space, and all they would tell us about the cosmos. But unknown disaster seems to have befallen the Japanese satellite.
The universe looks very different with X-ray vision, revealing some of the most energetic interactions in our galaxy. Japan's new Hitomi telescope will help us see these wonders.
It's urgent that we turn our attention to a high definition space telescope that will allow us to directly image exoplanets.
Ground-based telescopes are getting bigger and better while still being cheaper than space telescopes. But the vital scientific contributions made by Hubble demonstrates why we need both.