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Planet-hunting pioneer calls for probe to Alpha Centauri

The brief for speakers at today’s exoplanet workshop at MIT is “be provocative”, and veteran planet-hunter Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, certainly satisfied that with an extraordinary ten minute talk this morning that had one NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory official on his feet trying to respond even before the allotted question time. Marcy’s idea of sending a probe to Alpha Centauri came on the back of a series of scathing policy criticisms targeted at NASA and the US National Academy of Sciences. 

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