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Kepler Mission

The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, was launched on March 6, 2009. The scientific goal of the Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems, with a special emphasis on the detection of Earth-size planets. It will survey the extended solar neighborhood to detect and characterize hundreds of terrestrial and larger planets in or near the "habitable zone," defined by scientists as the distance from a star where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface. The results will yield a broad understanding of planetary formation, the frequency of formation, the structure of individual planetary systems, and the generic characteristics of stars with terrestrial planets.

Photo: Kepler Space Telescope

Kepler Mission is a leg of
Around the World in 80 Telescopes tour:


Click to play; click  (lower right) to view video full screen

Next stop: South Pole Telescope (previous stop: MTT)

Results from this mission will allow us to place our solar system within the continuum of planetary systems in the Galaxy.

 

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Kepler Mission - Overview Last Updated on 2009-09-03 00:00:00 The scientific objective of the Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems. This is achieved by surveying a large sample of stars to: Determine the percentage of terrestrial and larger planets there are in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of stars; Determine the distribution of sizes and shapes of the orbits of these planets; Estimate how many planets there are in multiple-star systems; Determine the variety of orbit sizes and planet reflectivities, sizes, masses and densities of short-period giant planets; Identify additional members of each discovered planetary system using other techniques; and Determine the properties of those stars that harbor planetary systems. The Kepler Mission also supports the objectives of future NASA Origins theme missions Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) and Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), By identifying... More »