The Kepler Mission

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MeteorWayne

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I'm bumping this thread to make it easier to find for an ongoing discussion in SS&A> I thought about merging them, but this is more mission specific.
MW
 
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bearack

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Just another bump to make sure this thread stays up there. SOme exciting news to come from this mission so don't want it to get to low :)
 
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dragon04

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2009 May 29. Kepler Project Manager Update - Kepler remains safe and stable in its "drift-away" heliocentric orbit. The space-craft is over 8.4 million kilometers from Earth. Kepler has been collecting science data since 12 May.

The operations team has had nearly daily contacts using the Deep Space Network to check the spacecraft health. Science data collection is, by design, a very quiet period as the scientists want the spacecraft as stable as possible. Other than the continual collection of science data with Kepler's photometer, the only activities that occur on the spacecraft, on a regular basis, are reaction wheel desaturations. These desaturations occur about every 3 days.

Full Story Here
 
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silylene

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dragon, you forced me to read your link to understand more.
What are reaction wheel desaturations ?

The orientation of the spacecraft (keeping the telescope pointed at the science field of view) is controlled by reaction wheels which slowly spin up to counter pressure from solar wind. Before any given wheels spin too fast, thrusters are fired to negate the momentum imparted to the spacecraft from the spin-up of the reaction wheels. The reaction wheel speeds are returned to near-zero, and the cycle begins again. We have loaded a command sequence on-board the spacecraft to execute these desaturations.
 
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EAK09

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Kepler Questions! (inc: 100,000 stars or 140,000 stars?

Does anyone know how many stars Kepler plans to follow? The last article I read mentioned, I believe, something like 140,000, 40% more than the 100,000 traditionally described.

Also, I was reviewing the transit probability equations and was wondering how they would tell (or try to tell) the difference between a smaller planet occluding right across a star's equator versus a larger one viewed from an angle of only partial transit.

Also, does Space.com have a user created possing feature? Any bettting going on regarding the number of earth-sized planets in the "habitable zone" to be found within 3 years? (Anyone think 300 is too high vs. too low?).

Last question : any expectations for Kepler to make any meaningful findings from observing any wobbling? (versus merely measuring minute changes in the amount of light coming from a star fixed in space).

Thannks.
 
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MeteorWayne

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I have mereged this inro the existing Kepler thread.

Here's the Kepler homepage:

http://kepler.nasa.gov/

They still say 100,000 stars.

Yes SDC has polling options

No Kepler will not observe any wobbling. First, it is not a spectrometer so can't detect the frequency shift used by early planet discoveries. Second, the stars are deliberately defocused to provide more accurate photometry, so can't be used for astrometry. You can read more at the Kepler site above.

MW
 
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CommonMan

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Any new updates? Is there a website on Nasa for this? I'm sure there is but I haven't had time to look. My computer at work BLOCKS Nasa! Should be a law aganist it. My wife keeps me too busy at home to stay on the internet very long.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes there's a website. Look at the post directly above yours!

Sometimes it's a good idea to read a few posts before asking a question! :)
 
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rocketscientist327

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This is just another failure (albiet a small one) of NASA not doing its job PR wise.

No one knows jack, why?

I know for a fact Kepler has a dedicated PR manager. How tough would it be for said person to write an update every third day (I know, I am asking for heaven and earth here) to write an update on the website reporting health of the spacecraft and any significant events?

Look at the rover websites, they give updates much more frequently. Seems like lessons learned from one mission do not get passed on to the next.

VR
RS327

For the record, I have been following Kepler since it was first proposed (and was not selected) for a Discovery mission.
 
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MeteorWayne

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What would an update every third day say?

July 30:
"3 more days of data have been collected. It remains on the spacecraft for the next download session. Analysis results will be announced about a year from now"

Aug 2:
"3 more days of data have been collected. It remains on the spacecraft for the next download session. Analysis results will be announced about a year from now"

Aug 5:
"3 more days of data have been collected. It remains on the spacecraft for the next download session. Analysis results will be announced about a year from now"

Rinse and repeat. There won't be any major news from this mission for a year or more. If you're looking for fast results, follow a different mission. :)
 
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CommonMan

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No updates for a YEAR or more? Thats IT !! I'm building my own spacecraft. :eek:
 
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MeteorWayne

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If you built your own spacecraft to perform the same mission, it would take just as long. If you read about what they are trying to accomplish, it is monitoring a hundred thousand stars for 3 years to catch the dips of light caused by planets passing in front of the star. Single dips don't count, since they have to be observed multiple times to confirm it's not just fluctuations in the star's output.

This kind of science takes time!
 
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CommonMan

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MeteorWayne":h9jndap0 said:
If you built your own spacecraft to perform the same mission, it would take just as long. If you read about what they are trying to accomplish, it is monitoring a hundred thousand stars for 3 years to catch the dips of light caused by planets passing in front of the star. Single dips don't count, since they have to be observed multiple times to confirm it's not just fluctuations in the star's output.

This kind of science takes time!
Thanks for taking time to reply to my stupid post. Didn't mean any harm. But really I have read about this mission when it started and was launched, but have not keep up with it lately. It just seems that a year is a very ong time to wait for updates from any mission. I'm getting too old to wait too long.
 
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3488

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CommonMan":1lylu7tr said:
MeteorWayne":1lylu7tr said:
If you built your own spacecraft to perform the same mission, it would take just as long. If you read about what they are trying to accomplish, it is monitoring a hundred thousand stars for 3 years to catch the dips of light caused by planets passing in front of the star. Single dips don't count, since they have to be observed multiple times to confirm it's not just fluctuations in the star's output.

This kind of science takes time!
Thanks for taking time to reply to my stupid post. Didn't mean any harm. But really I have read about this mission when it started and was launched, but have not keep up with it lately. It just seems that a year is a very ong time to wait for updates from any mission. I'm getting too old to wait too long.
Hi Common Man,

I think that Wayne knows that you were not trolling.

Remember KEPLER is continuously staring at one smallish patch of sky. Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope or Spitzer, etc which can swing around & observe many different targets in a short space of time, KEPLER does'nt.

Also remember the MERs, Cassini, LRO, MRO, MESSENGER, DAWN, etc are types of missions that can & / or will produce daily newswrothy updates

KEPLER is pointing the same way 24/7/365. As Wayne says, one dip in a star's light is not enough to announce a transiting planet discovery. IIRC at least three dips evenly spaced are required & remember also there are what, over 100,000 stars in KEPLER's view.

I think what you will find is that KEPLER exoplanet discoveries will be like waiting for a bus. You wait ages for one & in KEPLER's case, hundreds will then turn up at once.

When there is news, there will be loads, of that I think there is no doubt. It will take time to accumulate the necessary data first, a lot of time, as Wayne says, at least a year for anything meaningful.

Andrew Brown.
 
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CommonMan

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Thank you also, Andrew Brown! It just that I want to know all I can about everything now before I get too old and forget it all.
 
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HighEnergy

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Does anybody think it may be possible for earthlike worlds to orbit around white dwarfs. If so wouldnt the orbit have to be very close and quite frenquent. Will Kepler be able to pick up the light from those dead stars, or is the light to faint?
 
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MeteorWayne

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NASA Announces Briefing About Kepler's Early Science Results
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media briefing on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. EDT, to discuss early science results of the Kepler mission. Kepler is the first spacecraft with the ability to find Earth-size planets orbiting stars like our sun in a zone where liquid water could exist.

The televised briefing will be held in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. S.W., Washington.

The briefing participants are:

-- Jon Morse, NASA's Astrophysics Division director, NASA Headquarters
-- William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator, NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
-- Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
-- Alan Boss, astrophysicist, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution, Washington
 
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MeteorWayne

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Just a reminder the Kepler News Conference is on NASA TV at 2 PM EDT this afternoon.
 
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MeteorWayne

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The headline is a bit misleading. They did not get any composition from the atmosphere, rather they detected the heat of the planet's atmosphere as it went behind the star.

Previously this star was known to be one where the planet passed in front of the star and caused an intensity dip as that happened. What the "new science" was that the starlit side of the planet was detected on the other side of the orbit, as well as a clear dip in the luminosity as the planet passed behind the star. From earth based observations, this was barely seen in the noise of the individual measurements. In this case, the occultation of the planet by the star was quite clear.
 
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doubletruncation

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The exciting thing about this is that it demonstrates that Kepler is delivering the photometric precision required to detect earth-like planets. I expect that we should soon see some beautiful light curves for HAT-P-11 and TrES-2 as well, the two other known planets in Kepler's field.
 
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