The Kepler mission began observing stars and any planets in orbit of those stars up to 3,000 light years away since its launch last March. The first announcement of results is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2010.
The distance at which the Kepler mission can detect Earth-sized planets is 600-3,000 light years away. The goal of the Kepler mission is to detect other planetary systems by studying the variations of brightness of more than 100,000 stars.
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