Searching for other Earths
Budget troubles threaten NASA's plans to search for extrasolar planets that could harbor life, but the quest is not dead yet.
When NASA unveiled its fiscal year 2007 budget request in February, after our "Searching for signs of life" story went to press, prospects for finding life in the universe in the near future took a nosedive. The budget document said: "The Terrestrial Planet Finder project has been deferred indefinitely." In NASA-speak, that pretty much means TPF the ultimate planet- and life-hunting spacecraft is dead and won't be resurrected.