Out There

Way out there:

Astronomers using NASA’s newest space telescope have for the first time glimpsed the faint light from planets outside our solar system.

Indirect detection methods have found evidence of at least 152 planets orbiting stars outside our solar system, but the first light from two distant worlds is a key step in understanding the character of such bodies.

“It’s an awesome experience to realize we are seeing the glow of distant worlds,” says David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “We’ve been hunting for this light for almost 10 years, ever since the first extra-solar planets were discovered.”

Maybe NASA ought to stick to probes and space telescopes, and leave the manned missions to the private sector.