Here is an excellent synopsis of the Kepler spacecraft that was launched last night from Florida from my dear nerd-friends at io9.com.
This all ties nicely into the recently released book (planned? Yeah. It was.) The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets. Alan Boss is an amazing source of information as he weaves the ins and outs of the history for the search of planets outside our solar system. His main conclusion is that Earth-like worlds are far more common than we ever thought possible and we have just needed the technology to help find them.
That’s what Kepler will do. Probably. Maybe. Slight chance. Almost a slight chance. A really really really close close slight chance. Put all your eggs into this basket. If you like to lose eggs.