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NASA Kepler Scientists to Describe Hunt for Earth-size Planets

Press Release From: Ames Research Center
Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2007

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If you're interested in learning how NASA's Kepler spacecraft will search for Earth-size planets orbiting distant stars following its scheduled November 2008 launch, an upcoming meeting may be just the ticket.

As many as 30 scientists will conduct a working meeting at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., April 11 - 12, 2007, and will be available to answer questions from the media. News media are invited to meet informally with the Kepler scientists to conduct interviews at the SETI Institute, 515 N. Whisman Rd., Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to noon PDT.

WHAT: Opportunity to interview 20 to 30 scientists about their roles in the Kepler mission to look for extra-solar, Earth-size planets in the habitable zones of distant stars.

WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 2007, from 11 a.m. to noon PDT.

WHO: Twenty to 30 NASA Kepler mission scientists including principal investigator, William Borucki; deputy principal investigator, David Koch; and astronaut and science office director Janice Voss, who flew on five space shuttle missions.

WHERE: SETI Institute, 515 N. Whisman Rd., Mountain View, Calif. News media representatives who wish to attend the Kepler event for reporters should arrive by 10:45 a.m. PDT, April 12, 2007, to sign in at the SETI Institute check-in desk.

"It's the most important endeavor NASA is undertaking, in my opinion," ventured William Borucki, a space scientist and Kepler's principal investigator, who works at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. "We are trying to find man's place in the universe. The first step in doing that is finding Earth-like planets. Ultimately, we'll travel to the stars to see who is there," Borucki predicted.

Kepler will greatly expand the quest for planets orbiting stars - not just giant, Jupiter-size planets - but smaller Earth-size worlds that might contain liquid water, and so could harbor life. Kepler is a NASA 'Discovery' mission that scientists designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to detect potentially hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near habitable zones. A habitable zone is the distance from a star where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface.

Directions to the SETI Institute:

Driving South on Highway 101: Exit at Ellis Street, and turn right briefly on Ellis. At the stoplight, turn right onto Fairchild Drive and drive north parallel to Highway 101 toward San Francisco. At the second intersection, turn left onto N. Whisman Road. The SETI Institute is located just before the next traffic light on the left. There is a sign, "SETI Institute," at 515 N. Whisman Road. You may park anywhere around the building; please enter the door marked SETI Institute that faces the circular drive. Registration is located in the lobby.

Driving North on Highway 101: Exit at Ellis Street, and turn left under the overpass. At the traffic light, turn right onto Fairchild Drive and drive north parallel to Highway 101 toward San Francisco. At the second intersection, turn left onto N. Whisman Road. The SETI Institute is located just before the next traffic light on the left. There is a sign, "SETI Institute," at 515 N. Whisman Road. You may park anywhere around the building; please enter the door marked SETI Institute that faces the circular drive. Registration is located in the lobby.

For more information about the Kepler mission, please visit:

http://kepler.nasa.gov/

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