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HypothesisTesting
2009-Feb-10, 06:03 PM
Kepler will look at a small patch of Cygnus for 4 years and winnow out 100,000 stars using light photometry to detect earth sized planets. It should yield a planet or more a month, so we'll be treated to 4 years of weekly/monthly discoveries.

The bad news is, those will only be light curve inferred planets, and not actual images. But it will answer the age old question about whether all stars have solar systems like ours.

Design is 1 meter primary mirror and CCD array at prime focus. It's almost amazing how simple it is, I'm surprised it wasn't in orbit in 1980s , because this is almost or even as important as the HST.

http://kepler.nasa.gov/sci/design/spacecraft.html

""The instrument has the sensitivity to detect an Earth-size transit of an mv=12 G2V (solar-like) star at 4 sigma in 6.5 hours of integration. The instrument has a spectral bandpass from 400 nm to 850 nm. Data from the individual pixels that make up each star of the 100,000 main-sequence stars brighter than mv=14 are recorded continuously and simultaneously. The data are stored on the spacecraft and transmitted to the ground about once a week""

Launch window
2009-Feb-10, 07:01 PM
Yes a great mission I look forward to. Hopefully Kepler will help us enter a new era of discovering Earth like exoplanets

01101001
2009-Feb-10, 07:32 PM
An historical BAUT Forum Kepler topic: The Kepler Mission (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/24311-kepler-mission.html), kicked off 2002 October 28 (and after all that time, as of now, only 20 articles long).