Wow, the hunt for extrasolar planets is really looking up:
NASA’s Terrestrial Planet Finder, or TPF, is already underway. The artist’s rendering shows a traditional telescope on the left — a visible-light chronograph — that will launch in 2016 and pick out likely candidates. An array of infrared telescopes (right) will launch four years later and look for life signatures.
According to NASA’s FY 2007 budget documentation “The Terrestrial Planet Finding project (TPF) has been deferred indefinitely.” In other words, it is dead. NASA is just afraid to say so.
As of 18 April 2007, the lack of funding means that TPF has no launch date. So, Wired notwithstanding, TPF is grounded. It just couldn’t get past the budgetary resistance.
Every once in a while I get the feeling that reporters can be real dim bulbs, you know?
(Via Steinn SigurÃ°sson.)