Kepler Spacecraft

Kepler Spacecraft

About Kepler Spacecraft

The Kepler spacecraft is an American space observatory, the space-based portion of NASA's Kepler Mission to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched in March 2009 with a planned mission lifetime of at least 3.5 years; in 2012, the mission was extended to 2016. The Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover dozens of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets. Kepler's only instrument is a photometer that continually monitors the brightness of over 145,000 main sequence stars in a fixed field of view. This data is transmitted to Earth, then analyzed to detect periodic dimming caused by extrasolar planets that cross in front of their host star. Kepler is a project under NASA's Discovery Program of relatively low-cost, focused science missions. Construction and initial operation were managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with Ball Aerospace responsible for developing the Kepler flight system. The Ames Research Center is

Contributions by Aldebaran66, Aldaron, and Nanobear.