NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
The Kepler Mission: A Search for Terrestrial Planets - Development StatusWe have embarked on a mission to detect terrestrial planets. The space mission has been optimized to search for earth-size planets (0.5 to 10 earth masses) in the habitable zone (HZ) of solar-like stars. Given this design, the mission will necessarily be capable of not only detecting Earth analogs, but a wide range of planetary types and characteristics ranging from Mercury-size objects with orbital periods of days to gas-giants in decade long orbits that have undeniable signatures even with only one transit detected. The mission is designed to survey the full range of spectral-type dwarf stars. The approach is to detect the periodic signal of transiting planets. Three or more transits of a star exceeding a combined threshold of eight sigma with a statistically consistent period, brightness change and duration provide a rigorous method of detection. From the relative brightness change the planet size can be calculated. From the period the orbital size can be calculated and its location relative to the HZ determined. Presented here are: the mission goals, the top level system design requirements derived from these goals that drive the flight system design, a number of the trades that have lead to the mission concept, expected photometric performance dependence on stellar brightness and spectral type based on the system 'noise tree' analysis. Updated estimates are presented of the numbers of detectable planets versus size, orbit, stellar spectral type and distances based on a planet frequency hypothesis. The current project schedule and organization are given.
Document ID
20030054504
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Koch, David
Borucki, W.
Mayer, D.
Caldwell, D.
Jenkens, J.
Dunham, E.
Geary, J.
Bachtell, E.
Deininger, W.
Philbrick, R.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
April 2, 2003
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Meeting Information
54th Space Exploration Symposium(Bremen)
Funding Number(s)
OTHER: UPN 853-15-01
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.