In the recent Astro2010 Decadal Survey, astronomers polled expressed their wishlist of the things they’d like to see get done over the next 10 years. Among the list: find Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, and crack the mystery of dark energy. The list also includes two new telescopes — one on earth, one in space.
It’s interesting to note how astronomers’ interests have shifted in the past decade — during the last survey in 2001, most people had never heard of dark energy or extrasolar planets, and research into the topics was only just beginning. Now, astronomers’ top priorities are settling questions about the nature of dark energy and determining the prevalence of Earth-like planets (meaning Earth-sized as well as Earth-esque in composition). To read more, visit Popular Science.