We discuss our experiences operating a heterogeneous global network of autonomous observatories. The observatories
are presently situated on four continents, with a fifth expected during the summer of 2010. The network
nodes are small to intermediate diameter telescopes (<= 150 cm) owned by different institutions but running the
same observatory control software. We report on the experience gained during construction, commissioning and
operation of the observatories, as well as future plans. Problems encountered in the construction and operation
of the nodes are summarised. Operational statistics as well as scientific results from the observatories are also
The Microlensing Planet Finder (MPF) is a proposed Discovery mission that will complete the first census of extrasolar planets with sensitivity to planets like those in our own solar system. MPF will employ a 1.1m aperture telescope, which images a 1.3 sq. deg. field-of-view in the near-IR, in order to detect extrasolar planets with the gravitational microlensing effect. MPF's sensitivity extends down to planets of 0.1 Earth masses, and MPF can detect Earth-like planets at all separations from 0.7AU to infinity. MPF's extrasolar planet census will provide critical information needed to understand the formation and frequency of extrasolar planetary systems similar to our own.
The Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST) will observe a 2 square degree field in the Galactic bulge to search for extra-solar planets using a gravitational lensing technique. This gravitational lensing technique is the only method employing currently available technology that can detect Earth-mass planets at high signal-to-noise, and can measure the abundance of terrestrial planets as a function of Galactic position. GEST's sensitivity extends down to the mass of Mars, and it can detect hundreds of terrestrial planets with semi-major axes ranging from 0.7 AU to infinity. GEST will be the first truly comprehensive survey of the Galaxy for planets like those in our own Solar System.