NASA's Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 with the focused goal of surveying regions of the Milky Way Galaxy to discover Earth-size planets. The spacecraft's detection instrument is a photometer that continually monitors 145,000 stars to locate exoplanets in the "habitable zone" of a star, where liquid water and possibly life might exist.
The website tracks information about mission results, with more than 2,000 candidates identified after the first year's operation. Of those, two Earth-size candidates have been confirmed as of January, 2012. Educators will also find classroom activities, interactive resources, simple animations showing how the detection system works, and galleries of photos, videos and 3D images.
Editor's Note: The Kepler Mission employs the Transit Method of exoplanet detection. The spacecraft's photometer observes repeated transits of planets in front of their stars, which causes a detectible reduction in the star's brightness. See Related Materials for an animation that will help students understand the Transit Method.
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Metadata instance created
January 27, 2012
by Caroline Hall
May 27, 2012
by Lyle Barbato
Last Update when Cataloged:
December 31, 2011
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
3. The Nature of Technology
3A. Technology and Science
6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
4. The Physical Setting
4A. The Universe
9-12: 4A/H1a. The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age, but they appear to be made up of the same elements found on earth and behave according to the same physical principles.
9-12: 4A/H1b. Unlike the sun, most stars are in systems of two or more stars orbiting around one another.
9-12: 4A/H2ef. Eventually, some stars exploded, producing clouds containing heavy elements from which other stars and planets orbiting them could later condense. The process of star formation and destruction continues.
9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.
9-12: 4A/H4. Mathematical models and computer simulations are used in studying evidence from many sources in order to form a scientific account of the universe.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Astronomy Unit Title: Astronomy: Special K-12 Collections
NASA's Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 with the focused goal of surveying regions of the Milky Way Galaxy to discover Earth-size planets in the "habitable zone" of a star, where liquid water and possibly life might exist. You'll find classroom activities, interactive resources, simple animations showing how the detection system works, and galleries of photos, videos and 3D images.
%0 Electronic Source %D December 31, 2011 %T Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets %I NASA Ames Research Center %V 2014 %N 16 April 2014 %8 December 31, 2011 %9 video/quicktime %U http://kepler.nasa.gov/
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