Space... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the spacecraft Keppler. It's
Or at least, detect them. From NASA :
Kepler's mission: to peer closely at a patch of space for at least three-and-a-half years, looking for rocky planets similar to our own. The spacecraft will target an area rich with stars like our sun, watching for a slight dimming in the starlight as planets slip through the space between.It will be some time before we go there though, alas. It's a good question whether the probes that will be launched taking tens of thousands of years to get there will be overtaken by events though. How long does it take to develop a system that's able to get to a reasonable fraction of c, or even just skip the intervening distance?
"Kepler is a critical component in NASA's broader efforts to ultimately find and study planets where Earth-like conditions may be present," said Jon Morse, the Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The planetary census Kepler takes will be very important for understanding the frequency of Earth-size planets in our galaxy and planning future missions that directly detect and characterize such worlds around nearby stars."
One problem with accelerating something to a useful speed - the energy cost. The entire output of the Sun is 4.26 megatons converted to energy per second. So to accelerate a starship the size of the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise, which massed 275,000 tons, to a little less than the speed of light would take the entire output of the sun for about 1/150 of a second. Or about 750 million 1-megaton H-bombs.
It will be some time before we "boldly go" and all that.