An anonymous reader sends along this excerpt from Nature News: "Kepler, NASA's mission to search for planets around other stars, will not be able to spot an Earth-sized planet until 2011, according to the mission's team. The delays are caused by noisy amplifiers in the telescope's electronics. ... The problem is caused by amplifiers that boost the signals from the charge-coupled devices that form the heart of the 0.95-metre telescope's 95-million-pixel photometer, which detects the light emitted from the distant stars. Three of the amplifiers are creating noise that compromises Kepler's view. The noise affects only a small portion of the data, Borucki says, but the team has to fix the software — it would be 'too cumbersome' to remove the bad data manually — so that it accounts for the noise automatically. He says that the fix should be in place by 2011." Mindful of Halloween's approach, NASA has put up a piece looking at some of the already-known exoplanets that wouldn't be very friendly to human life.
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