The DVD on the Kepler Telescope

The Kepler Mission is a NASA space telescope designed to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Using a space photometer developed by NASA, it will observe the brightness of over 100,000 stars over 3.5 years to detect periodic transits of a star by its planets (the transit method of detecting planets). The mission is named in honor of German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

Kepler is not in an Earth orbit but in an Earth-trailing solar orbit so that Earth does not occlude the stars which are observed continuously and the photometer is not influenced by stray light from Earth. This orbit avoids gravitational perturbations and torques inherent in an Earth orbit, allowing for a more stable viewing platform.

The Kepler Mission Names in Space was a great success. Almost 60,000 people registered for Kepler's Names in Space project. Many provided a statement on their views about the value of the mission and space exploration. The names and statements were burned onto a DVD in early December, 2008. The DVD was installed onto the Kepler spacecraft at Ball Aerospace Technologies Corporation in Boulder CO. A copy of the DVD was given to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum as a historical record of public opinion about Kepler and space exploration.

The spacecraft was transported to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in early 2009 to prepare for launch. Kepler was launched on March 6 and began science observations on May 13, 2009.

Details:

Date of Launch: March 6, 2009 at 22:49:57 UTC-5
Status:
science observations running

Participation Certificate