A team of astronomers and a number of outer space enthusiasts have joined forces to investigate whether we’re alone in the universe.

As part of the PLANETS Foundation, these scientists are working to create a revolutionary exoplanet telescope designed specifically to search for nearby planets and scan them for signs of life.

In April, the team sought funding for the first of three phases of the telescope, and raised more than double its goal of $20,000 to implement features like advanced polishing and ultra-thin mirrors. Now, the team is seeking funding for its second phase, the ExoLife Finder.

PLANETS is short for Polarized Light from Atmospheres of Nearby Extraterrestrial Systems. Designed from the ground up, the new ExoLife Finder will be capable of seeing exoplanets some 24 light years (120 trillion miles) away.

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