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Nasa 'planet-hunting' mission to announce 'new discoveries'

NASA'S Kepler mission, which searches through the universe for planets that could contain life, is about to announce "major new discoveries".

Many of the mission's highest-profile scientists will be gathering for a mission that has teased the discovery of "another Earth", due to take place on July 23.

"The first exoplanet orbiting another star like our sun was discovered in 1995," Nasa said in a statement. "Exoplanets, especially small Earth-size worlds, belonged within the realm of science fiction just 21 years ago.

"Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years - another Earth."

The Kepler mission was launched in March 2009, to scans the universe in an effort to find Earth-like planets that are the right distance from a star to be habitable. Since then, it has confirmed over 1,000 planets and more than 3,000 planet candidates, all of a range of sizes and place in the universe.


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