NASA has just released an amazingly crafted map of more than 4,000 exoplanets that are known to exist outside our Solar System, which takes the form of a video that shows how many exoplanets we have discovered each year since 1991.
Exoplanets not only interest us because they orbit a different star, but also because they have the potential to harbor life.
It is an impressive visualization of the exponential rate at which we are discovering external worlds many light-years away. That's partly thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, NASA's now-retreating orbiting spacecraft that searched for exoplanets in the confines of deep space since its launch in 2009.
While Kepler had to retire last year, other satellites and space telescopes were located where he left off, including the Transient Exoplanet Inspection Satellite, which recently detected its smallest exoplanet.
And future space telescopes are also in the planning stages, such as the European satellite for characterization of exoplanets, which will be launched later this year.
Unfortunately, NASA's latest planned space telescope, the James Webb Telescope, has faced many delays, while receiving information from Congress about NASA's budget for the project.
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