Press Release: NASA Kepler Mission Awarded Extension through FY16.
“Kepler offers a new technical capability, opening a new measurement parameter space, and as often happens with such developments, that has led to unexpected results…. There has been a continuous stream of new findings – the assimilation and exploitation of new opportunities is just beginning,” as stated by the committee in the 2012 Senior Review report.
“Kepler has revolutionized our understanding of exoplanets and the study of stellar seismology and variability,” said Roger Hunter, Kepler project manager at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “There is currently no other mission in development that can replace or surpass the precision of Kepler. This extended mission will afford Kepler a unique opportunity to rewrite our understanding of the galaxy and our place in it.”
Launched in March 2009, the Kepler spacecraft identifies planet candidates by repeatedly measuring the tiny change in brightness of more than 150,000 stars to detect when a planet transits the face of the star. The size of the planet can be derived from these periodic dips in brightness. At least three transits are required to verify a signal as a planet.
WE WILL FIND A PLANET KEPLER THAT CAN SUPPORT LIFE IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS!
For more information from the press release go to http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/2012-senior-review