This artist's concept depicts some of the planetary discoveries made by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Tuesday's announcement more than doubles the number of verified planets discovered by the Kepler mission. W. Stenzel/NASA hide caption

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NASA Spots 1,284 New Planets, Including 9 That Are 'Potentially Habitable'
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This artist's rendering shows what the view might look like from one of the three planets orbiting an ultracool, reddish dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. ESO/M. Kornmesser/Nature hide caption

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3 Strange Worlds Circling A Cool Star Might Be Prime Spots To Support Life
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Stephen Hawking discusses the "Breakthrough Starshot" space exploration initiative during a news conference Tuesday at One World Observatory in New York City. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation hide caption

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Stephen Hawking's Plan For Interstellar Travel Has Some Earthly Obstacles
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(Top row, left to right) Titan, Earth's moon, Europa and Enceladus. (Bottom row, left to right) Callisto, Charon, Ariel and lo. NASA hide caption

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Hot On The Trail Of Alien Moons
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Ambitious Project Would Use 'Starchips' To Travel To Alpha Centauri
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An image from the European Southern Observatory shows the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri — which appears so large because of the telescope optics and photographic emulsion — taken from photos in the Digitized Sky Survey 2. Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to Earth's solar system. ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Davide De Martin hide caption

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An artist's rendering of the BEAM inflatable annex attached to the side of the International Space Station. Courtesy of Bigelow Aerospace hide caption

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NASA To Test Inflatable Room For Astronauts In Space
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This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy. The cosmic monster's powerful gravity distorts space around it like the mirror in a fun house, smearing the light from nearby stars. NASA/ESA/D. Coe, J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (Space Telescope Science Institute) hide caption

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Supermassive Black Holes May Be More Common Than Anyone Imagined
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The women of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory helped launch the first American satellites, lunar missions and planetary explorations. Those "human computers," as they were called, are seen here in 1953. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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Meet The 'Rocket Girls,' The Women Who Charted The Course To Space
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Bob Ebeling with his daughter Kathy (center) and his wife, Darlene. Howard Berkes/NPR hide caption

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Challenger Engineer Who Warned Of Shuttle Disaster Dies
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A Martian gravity map shows the Tharsis volcanoes and surrounding flexure. The white areas in the center are higher-gravity regions produced by the massive Tharsis volcanoes, and the surrounding blue areas are lower-gravity regions that may be cracks in the crust (lithosphere). MIT/UMBC-CRESST/GSFC via NASA hide caption

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