The Terrestrial Planet Finder mission will aim discovering planets as small as Earth in the habitable areas of distant solar systems. It would measure their sizes, temperature and placement in the outer solar system.
It would also study the evolution of planets from disks of solid and gaseous material around the young stars.
However, the mission will not be limited to the discovery and examination of distant planets. There would be an observatory that would collect important new data on many topics of general astrophysical interest. The mission would also concentrate on physical processes in the universe such as the icy cores of comets, winds of dying stars etc.
Let us now have a look at the design of the spacecraft and the instruments it proposes to use.