An artist's concept of an exoplanet orbiting close to its sun. Image credit: NASA
An artist's concept of an exoplanet orbiting close to its sun. Image credit: NASA

August 6, 2009: NASA’s new exoplanet-hunting Kepler space telescope has detected the atmosphere of a known giant gas planet, demonstrating the telescope’s extraordinary scientific capabilities. The discovery will be published Friday in the journal Science.

“As NASA’s first exoplanets mission, Kepler has made a dramatic entrance on the planet-hunting scene,” said Jon Morse, director of the Science Mission Directorate’s Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Detecting this planet’s atmosphere in just the first 10 days of data is only a taste of things to come. The planet hunt is on!”

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