Exoplanets are not only interesting to us because they orbit a different star, but also because they have the potential to harbor life.
In June, NASA confirmed the 4,000th exoplanet and is now celebrating the discovery with an amazing map of all the exoplanets found to date. The space agency dropped an animated video showing when and where these thousands of exoplanets were found in the night sky. This incredible visualization was created with System Sounds, the science outreach program of NASA.
Launched in 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope has helped NASA greatly in its lookout for exoplanets.
Although Kepler may be dead now, few other space observatories are set to carry its lineage forward.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has already claimed over 700 new extrasolar planets in its first year of service. It also recently spotted the smallest exoplanet ever. A couple of other space telescopes are also to come in the future, such as European Characterising Exoplanets Satellite, scheduled (CHEOPS) which is slated to launch later this year. James Webb Space Telescope is set to take off in early 2021. Apart from making discoveries, these upcoming telescopes will do more in assessing the conditions fit to support life on extraterrestrial surfaces.