The tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew Feb. 1 hasn’t deterred NASA from its search for new worlds. This search is being conducted over the next 15 years through a series of NASA missions using the most sensitive instruments ever made. On the agency’s “PlanetQuest” web site, students can learn all about these instruments and the missions they are being used in. Students can find out how scientists discover new planets and determine whether a planet is habitable, search an “atlas” of planets to see what planets have been discovered thus far (there are 102), or tour a multimedia gallery. Resources for teachers and focused learning activities for students also are provided.

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