Scientists at JPL have devised a telescope which would make use of the gravitational effects of the Sun as the "lens" for viewing distant planets around other stars. The drawback is the fact that it would require an instrument to operate at a distance well beyond the orbit of Neptune, and it would need to get there in a reasonable amount of time. Neither are technologically possible at the present time, but the interest in such projects indicates the directions the space industry intends to move.
This is the same model that can boast of numerous successes on one hand, but plagued by budget and technological shortfalls on the other. Space exploration must become more than a rocket with a payload, tossed into space with little other than geometry and physics to guide it. A realistic model for space exploration demands versatile, efficient, and reliable approaches, and currently it has only one model which is dangerous, expensive, and tedious.
Either the space industry as a whole will embrace technological potentials which currently exist only in theory, or they will continue the rocket-and-payload method until the money has been thoroughly spent, knowing that results will be known only in decades or possibly centuries to come.