GAIA making a mapping of the galaxy (artistic reproduction).
ESA / Medialab
Several space projects with new abilities will make progress in the exploration of extrasolar planets :
GAIA : This European mission, launched in 2011, will achieve a complete inventory of the solar neighbourhood, including brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets. To do that, GAIA will observe several times, without any selection bias, every object brighter than mag. 20 and measure its position, velocity, and color in the sky plane. GAIA will be able to detect terrestrial planets near the Sun.
- The SIM project (NASA) shares similar ambitions. It will be launched in 2011.
- The successor of the Hubble Space Telescope is the JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) : this space telescope, not to be launched earlier than 2013, has a mirror of 6.5 meters.