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Kepler Mission: A Wide-FOV Photometer Designed to Determine the Frequency of Earth-Size and Larger Planets Around Solar-like starsThe first step in discovering the extent of life in our galaxy is to determine the number of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone (HZ). The Kepler Mission is designed around a 0.95 m aperture Schmidt-type telescope with an array of 42 CCDs designed to continuously monitor the brightness of 100,000 solar-like stars to detect the transits of Earth-size and larger planets. The photometer is scheduled to be launched into heliocentric orbit in 2007. Measurements of the depth and repetition time of transits provide the size of the planet relative to the star and its orbital period. When combined with ground-based spectroscopy of these stars to fix the stellar parameters, the true planet radius and orbit scale, hence the position relative to the HZ are determined. These spectra are also used to discover the relationships between the characteristics of planets and the stars they orbit. In particular, the association of planet size and occurrence frequency with stellar mass and metallicity will be investigated. At the end of the four year mission, hundreds of terrestrial planets should be discovered in and near the HZ of their stars if such planets are common. A null result would imply that terrestrial planets in the HZ occur in less than 1% of the stars and that life might be quite rare. Based on the results of the current doppler-velocity discoveries, detection of a thousand giant planets is expected. Information on their albedos and densities of those giants showing transits will be obtained.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Borucki, William
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Koch, David
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Lissauer, Jack
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Basri, Gibor
(California Univ. Berkeley, CA United States)
Caldwell, John
(York Univ. Toronto, Ontario Canada)
Cochran, William
(Texas Univ. Austin, TX United States)
Dunham, Edward W.
(Lowell Observatory Flagstaff, AZ United States)
Gilliland, Ronald
(Space Telescope Science Inst. Baltimore, MD United States)
Jenkins, Jon M.
(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Mountain View, CA United States)
Caldwell, Douglas
(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Mountain View, CA United States)
DeVincenzi, Donald
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Meeting Information
SPIE Meeting/Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation(Waikoloa, HI)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 997-24-00
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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