NASA announced Monday its second Kepler mission found 219 potential exoplanets, of which 10 are Earth-like rocky worlds. However, most of those possible worlds are quite far away, and the distance makes it difficult to study them for potential habitability.

A new international campaign called Red Dots launched Monday, with its mission to search for planets around nearby star systems, and to understand if those planetary bodies can sustain life as we know it. The team behind the campaign discovered Proxima b in 2016, which is the closest planet to Earth outside our solar system.

Read: Life Could Exist On Proxima b Because Of Potentially Stable Climate

The Red Dots team will hunt for exoplanets in the three star systems that are closest to the sun — the three-star system of Alpha Centauri, which is home to Proxima b about 4.2 light-years away; Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf that is 7-12-billion years old and located almost 6 light-years away; and Ross 154, also a red dwarf that is 9.69 light-years away.

The campaign’s scientific team, led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé from Queen Mary University of London, will use a number of instruments around the world, including the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), to acquire data, ESO said in a statement Monday. Photometric observations began June 15, spectrographic observations will begin Wednesday, and the data will be gathered over approximately 90 days.

Installed on the ESP 3.6 m Telescope in Chile, HARPS — along with the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, also in Chile — was used to confirm the existence of Proxima b. “HARPS searches nightly for exoplanets, looking for the minute wobbles in the star’s motion generated by the pull of an exoplanet in orbit. HARPS picks up motion which can be as little as a gentle walking pace — just 3.5 km/h — from trillions of kilometres away,” according to the ESO statement.

New-Planet-Like-Earth-2016-Proxima-B The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our solar system, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory, Aug. 24, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Red Dots and ESO are also working with the Breakthrough Starshot initiative that proposes to send very lightweight satellite probes to the nearest stars at speeds up to one-fifth that of light. In a recent statement, Avi Loeb of Harvard University, who chairs the advisory committee of the initiative and is also part of the Red Dots campaign, said: “To properly select the Starshot targets, we would like to know which nearby stars host habitable planets like Proxima b. The treasure of data expected from the Red Dots campaign will be invaluable for guiding and motivating the Starshot project.”

Read: Stephen Hawking, Yuri Milner Launch Breakthrough Starshot Mission To Study Alpha Centauri

The search for life, as we know it, beyond Earth is very complicated. It starts with finding liquid water, which is essential for the chemistry of life as we understand it. But being at the right distance from its parent star is not enough for a planet to have the right conditions for liquid water. For example, Mars has mass just about a tenth of Earth, and therefore lost most of its atmosphere, turning the surface into an arid desert where liquid water hasn’t existed for billions of years.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble Space Telescope which is scheduled for an October 2018 launch, will be capable of distinguishing if exoplanet Proxima b has an atmosphere that moderates its surface, compared to it being a harsh barren rock.