“Kepler: A Unique Space Telescope” describes spacecraft and mission in a 15-minute podcast (.MP3). The Kepler Space Telescope makes news with announcements of habitable exo-planets as NASA reports a total of 122 confirmed planets. Wikipedia describes mission details:
“Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named for the 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched on 7 March 2009. The Kepler observatory 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’. A photometer 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 pushes back space frontier almost on a weekly basis! You may drop below fold for a seven minute video intro to Kepler mission – good stuff!
Original video link: https://web.archive.org/web/20121222223454/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1qqJ3AwaBk
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