In an article by David Chandler, MIT News Office on March 19, 2008, scientists announced that they were designing a satellite-based observatory that they say could for the first time provide a sensitive survey of the entire sky to search for planets outside the solar system that appear to cross in front of bright stars. Chandler said the system could rapidly discover hundreds of planets similar to the Earth.
Google is the Internet search powerhouse. But it’s mission has expanded to include mapping of the stars as well as the surfaces of the moon and Mars and has an ongoing collaboration with NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Google provided a small seed grant to fund development of the wide-field digital cameras needed for the satellite. Because of the huge amount of data that will be generated by the satellite, Google has an interest in working on the development of ways of sifting through that data to find useful information, something it is well prepared to do after being successful in organizing millions and millions of information bytes in the computer world.