Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 162125 times)

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #260 on: 06/07/2013 11:49 AM »
There will be a Google+ hangout next Tuesday, June 11, 12:00 PM PDT SETI Talk - The Once and Future Kepler:

https://plus.google.com/events/ci4g3qqoljo7bk0jb9um7vhl4b4

Also hearing via @ProfAbelMendez on Twitter that

"Great! 503 new exoplanet candidates were added to @NASAKepler. There are now 3216 KOIs"

... but I didn't think the latest 1,924 KOI had yet been dispositioned

Offline jg

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #261 on: 06/07/2013 08:01 PM »
I was trying to figure the odds of Kepler recovery. 

So it does not look good for Kepler. 

I'm highly constrained with respect to what I can say (vs. what I'd really like to say about those wheels)...

Read this:
http://www.nature.com/news/the-wheels-come-off-kepler-1.13032


I talked with a friend on the science team.  As the article says, there is little hope of recovery; all attempts to revive those wheels in the past have failed.

Jim

Offline sanman

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #262 on: 06/11/2013 09:38 PM »
Help is on the way!


http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32029.msg1063007#msg1063007


Please help make sure this happens!
« Last Edit: 06/11/2013 09:39 PM by sanman »

Offline MarsMethanogen

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #263 on: 07/10/2013 09:29 PM »
A friend sent me this link, but in my opinion, the title line is completely misleading, as the only reference in the article is "engineers are working on a long-distance repair plan and testing it on a spacecraft test bed at the Ball Aerospace facility in Boulder, Colo.", and then nothing more is said other than to review Kepler's accomplishments and discoveries.  Does anyone have any meat to this statement?

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9240630/NASA_preps_long_distance_rescue_plan_for_crippled_Kepler_telescope


Offline grondilu

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #264 on: 07/20/2013 12:09 AM »
A friend sent me this link, but in my opinion, the title line is completely misleading, as the only reference in the article is "engineers are working on a long-distance repair plan and testing it on a spacecraft test bed at the Ball Aerospace facility in Boulder, Colo.", and then nothing more is said other than to review Kepler's accomplishments and discoveries.  Does anyone have any meat to this statement?

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9240630/NASA_preps_long_distance_rescue_plan_for_crippled_Kepler_telescope

An other article from io9 pointed me to this CNN article:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/18/us/nasa-kepler/index.html

Nowhere is suggested a launch to intervene on the telescope in situ, if that's what the title made you imagine.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2013 12:10 AM by grondilu »
Space is pretty much literally an astronomically-high hanging fruit.

Offline Targeteer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #265 on: 07/25/2013 12:09 PM »
initial results of recovery efforts...

Kepler Mission Manager Update: Initial Recovery Tests

http://spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=44405

Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #266 on: 07/25/2013 05:18 PM »
More on the attempts at recovery

http://www.space.com/22104-nasa-kepler-exoplanet-spacecraft-recovery.html

Not completely good news but better than no science data at all!

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #267 on: 08/02/2013 08:52 AM »
274 new candidates have been added to the catalogue:

"July 31, 2013: One new planet has been added, GJ 328 b, and Kepler has also updated several KOI dispositions for objects in the Q1-Q12 and Cumulative tables. This brings the archive's confirmed planet count to 882, and the confirmed and candidates count to 3,548. For an explanation of the archive's criteria for including planets, see our Exoplanet Criteria page."

See http://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu/

16 of these 274 new candidates are in the habitable zone, bringing the total to 56 candidate and confirmed HZ planets. Nothing particularly startling (but the list includes some really rather Earth-like ones): radii range from 1.3x Earth to 3.7x Earth + 1 gas giant, and periods ranging from 101 days to 394 days.

How quickly we become blasé:-)

Edit: the lower end of the size range for the 274 new candidates is interesting:
- 5 candidates Mars-sized (0.64x Earth) or smaller
- 30 between 0.65x and 1.0x Earth
- 28 between 1.0x and 1.25x Earth
« Last Edit: 08/03/2013 07:38 AM by jebbo »

Offline Targeteer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #268 on: 08/03/2013 12:42 AM »
another recovery update

http://www.nasa.gov/content/kepler-mission-manager-update-pointing-test/#.UfxRblOsbps



The team has continued exploratory recovery testing of Reaction Wheel 4 (RW4). On Thursday, July 25, 2013, the wheel spun in both directions in response to commands.

While both RW4 and RW2 have spun bi-directionally, friction levels remain higher than would be considered good for an operational wheel. However, it will be important to characterize the stability of the friction over time. A constant friction level may be correctable in the spacecraft’s attitude control system, whereas a variable friction level will likely render the wheels unusable.

Reaction wheel
High-precision pointing of the Kepler spacecraft is controlled by reaction wheels, which are small electric motors mounted on the spacecraft that control the three axes of motion: up/down, forward/back and left/right.
Image Credit:
Ball Aerospace

With the demonstration that both wheels will still move, and the measurement of their friction levels, the functional testing of the reaction wheels is now complete.  The next step will be a system-level performance test to see if the wheels can adequately control spacecraft pointing.

The team is preparing for the next test using RW2. Friction levels on RW4, the wheel that failed in May, are higher and no additional testing is planned at this time. The pointing test involves determining the performance of the wheel as part of the spacecraft system. The test will be conducted in three stages.

The first stage of the pointing test will determine if the spacecraft can sustain coarse-point mode using RW1, 2 and 3. Coarse-point mode is regularly used during normal operations, but has insufficient pointing accuracy to deliver the high-precision photometry necessary for exoplanet detection. During coarse-point the star trackers measure the pointing accuracy of the spacecraft. When using wheels to control the spacecraft, pointing is typically controlled to within an arcsecond, with a fault declared if the pointing error exceeds a quarter of a degree. This degree of pointing accuracy would be equivalent to keeping an imaginary Kepler telescope pointed at a theatre-size movie screen in New York City's Central Park from San Francisco.

The Kepler spacecraft
The spacecraft provides the power, pointing and telemetry for the photometer. Other than the four reaction wheels used to maintain the precision pointing and an ejectable cover, there are no other moving or deployable parts on the spacecraft.
Image Credit:
NASA Ames/Ball Aerospace

In the first stage, testing will demonstrate whether or not operation with RW2 can keep the spacecraft from entering safe mode. A safe mode is a self-protective measure that the spacecraft takes when an unexpected event occurs, such as elevated friction levels in the wheels.

In the second stage, testing will investigate RW2's ability to help control the spacecraft pointing with enough accuracy to transmit science data to the ground using NASA's Deep Space Network. If RW2 can sustain coarse-point in stage 1, the second stage of the test will be to point the high-gain antenna to Earth and downlink the data currently stored aboard. This requires that the pointing be controlled more tightly than simply avoiding safe mode, yet does not require the very fine control needed to return to science data collection.

The final stage of the test will determine if RW2 can achieve and maintain fine-point, the operating mode for collecting science data. During fine-point the fine-guidance sensors measure the spacecraft pointing. When using wheels to control the spacecraft, pointing is controlled to within a few milliarcseconds. Using our imaginary Kepler telescope example, this degree of pointing accuracy would be equivalent to pointing at a soccer ball in New York City's Central Park from San Francisco.

The team anticipates beginning the pointing performance testing on Thursday, August 8, 2013 and will continue into the following week if all goes well. A determination of whether Kepler can return to exoplanet data collection is expected a couple weeks after these pointing tests are complete.

As engineers explore recovery of the spacecraft, scientists continue to analyze the existing data. Earlier this week the team delivered their findings for 1,236 new Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) to the NASA Exoplanet Archive. The new KOIs were found by searching the observational data from Quarters 1 to Quarter 12. Of the 1,236 new KOIs, 274 were judged to be planet candidates, while many others were determined to be false positives. These newly announced Kepler planet candidates bring the current count to 3,548. Some of these new planet candidates are small and some reside in the habitable zone of their stars, but much work remains to be done to verify these results.

Also announced this week is the Kepler Science Conference II Nov. 4-8, 2013 at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. Registration is now open.

Regards,
Roger
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #269 on: 08/14/2013 07:48 PM »
NASA will host a news teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 15, to discuss the status of the agency's Kepler Space Telescope.

Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone, the region around a star in which the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water. Launched in 2009, Kepler has discovered planets and planet candidates with a wide range of sizes and orbital distances and helped scientists better understand our place in the galaxy.

The briefing participants are:

-- Paul Hertz, astrophysics director, NASA Headquarters
-- William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator, NASA's Ames Research Center
-- Charles Sobeck, deputy project manager, NASA's Ames Research Center

For dial-in information, journalists should email their name, affiliation and telephone number to J.D. Harrington at j.d.harrington@nasa.gov by 1 p.m. Thursday. Media representatives and the public also may ask questions via Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #270 on: 08/14/2013 08:23 PM »
I'm hoping for some good news. 
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Targeteer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #271 on: 08/15/2013 06:22 PM »
Sadly no... :(

NASA Ends Attempts to Fully Recover Kepler Spacecraft, Potential New Missions Considered   
 
   
 
Following months of analysis and testing, the Kepler Space Telescope team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order, and now is considering what new science research it can carry out in its current condition.

Two of Kepler's four gyroscope-like reaction wheels, which are used to precisely point the spacecraft, have failed. The first was lost in July 2012, and the second in May. Engineers' efforts to restore at least one of the wheels have been unsuccessful.

Kepler completed its prime mission in November 2012 and began its four-year extended mission at that time. However, the spacecraft needs three functioning wheels to continue its search for Earth-sized exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, orbiting stars like our sun in what's known as the habitable zone -- the range of distances from a star where the surface temperature of a planet might be suitable for liquid water. As scientists analyze previously collected data, the Kepler team also is looking into whether the space telescope can conduct a different type of science program, including an exoplanet search, using the remaining two good reaction wheels and thrusters.

"Kepler has made extraordinary discoveries in finding exoplanets including several super-Earths in the habitable zone," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Knowing that Kepler has successfully collected all the data from its prime mission, I am confident that more amazing discoveries are on the horizon."

On Aug. 8, engineers conducted a system-level performance test to evaluate Kepler's current capabilities. They determined wheel 2, which failed last year, can no longer provide the precision pointing necessary for science data collection. The spacecraft was returned to its point rest state, which is a stable configuration where Kepler uses thrusters to control its pointing with minimal fuel use.

"At the beginning of our mission, no one knew if Earth-size planets were abundant in the galaxy. If they were rare, we might be alone," said William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "Now at the completion of Kepler observations, the data holds the answer to the question that inspired the mission: Are Earths in the habitable zone of stars like our sun common or rare?

An engineering study will be conducted on the modifications required to manage science operations with the spacecraft using a combination of its remaining two good reaction wheels and thrusters for spacecraft attitude control.

Informed by contributions from the broader science community in response to the call for scientific white papers announced Aug. 2, the Kepler project team will perform a study to identify possible science opportunities for a two-wheel Kepler mission.

Depending on the outcome of these studies, which are expected to be completed later this year, NASA will assess the scientific priority of a two-wheel Kepler mission. Such an assessment may include prioritization relative to other NASA astrophysics missions competing for operational funding at the NASA Senior Review board early next year.

From the data collected in the first half of its mission, Kepler has confirmed 135 exoplanets and identified over 3,500 candidates. The team continues to analyze all four years of collected data, expecting hundreds, if not thousands, of new discoveries including the long-awaited Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars. Though the spacecraft will no longer operate with its unparalleled precision pointing, scientists expect Kepler’s most interesting discoveries are still to come.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for hosting the second Kepler Science Conference Nov. 4-8, at NASA's Ames Research Center. This will be an opportunity to share not only the investigations of the Kepler project team, but also those of the wider science community using publicly accessible data from Kepler. Registration is now open. For more information about Kepler's upcoming science conference, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/13kz012

For more information about NASA's call for two-wheel science proposals, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1a1UzaC

For more information about NASA's Kepler spacecraft, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler
« Last Edit: 08/15/2013 06:23 PM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline jgoldader

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #272 on: 08/15/2013 09:21 PM »
From the Call for White Papers, Kepler's pointing limit is 45 degrees from the Sun.  That allows it to see approximately to 0.7 AU, since that's the radius of Venus' orbit, and Venus gets to a max of about 45 degrees elongation.

I'd love to see Kepler look for asteroids in the area between the orbits of Earth and Venus.  Objects in that region would hit us from the sunward side and are very difficult to detect from Earth-based telescopes.  A very small number of objects with orbits in that region have been seen, there must be more.  Sentinel, proposed by the B-612 Foundation, would likely do a better job, but a bird in orbit is worth two in PowerPoints.

Jeff
Recovering astronomer

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #273 on: 08/17/2013 05:16 AM »
Last night one of the Kepler scientists (Dr. Jason Steffen) gave a lecture at the Clark Planetarium, and the Hansen Dome was packed.  I was there.  He gave a very, very good presentation on the mission.  Highlights:

- Kepler viewed an area of 150,000 stars in the area of Lyra and Cygnus.  That area was specifically picked; they wanted enough stars to get a good sample but too many stars would make it difficult to pick out planets.

- The most common planets and planet candidates are between the sizes of earth and Neptune, or Neptune-sized.  There are some smaller than earth, some Jupiter/Saturn sized, and some bigger than Jupiter. 

- There is no solar system analog for most of the planets Kepler has found.  (Are WE and our solar system the oddballs in the universe?)

- Kepler project less than halfway through analyzing all data.  8 quarters done, 8 to go.

- Most planet candidates are expected to be the "real deal"

- Jupiter sized planets cause the star to dip in brightness by 1/1000 of 1%.  Earth sized planets: 1/100000

- There are several planets/planet candidates close to earth size AND close to earth's temperature range (270 K).  Others in the graph that he showed were within the potential range where water could be liquid.

- Smallest planet found about size of moon. Largest planet found over 15x Jupiter mass.

- Kepler can detect ring systems but the work on that had been on the "back burner".  Exomoon detection in work also. (that was his answer to me when I posed the question about ring detection in the Q&A).

I'm glad I went to this. 
« Last Edit: 08/17/2013 05:44 AM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #274 on: 08/17/2013 07:44 AM »
- Kepler viewed an area of 150,000 stars in the area of Lyra and Cygnus.  That area was specifically picked; they wanted enough stars to get a good sample but too many stars would make it difficult to pick out planets.

They also wanted to minimise bright stars in the field as these produce charge-bleed effects that affect many stars on the same CCD row/column.

Sadly, this makes it harder to do ground based follow-up as most of the field are dim and distant . . .

Quote
- There is no solar system analog for most of the planets Kepler has found.  (Are WE and our solar system the oddballs in the universe?)

Not clear if this is a selection effect yet. 

Because only 8 quarters of data have been analysed, this limits the max period for the required 3 transits to somewhat less than a year - it has been striking to watch how the mass/period scatter chart has evolved: each release has lower mass and higher period candidates.

Quote
- Most planet candidates are expected to be the "real deal"

Indeed! The false-positive rate for single candidate systems is expected to be ~5% after eliminating the obvious (EBs etc) and is much lower if there are multiple candidates.

Quote
- There are several planets/planet candidates close to earth size AND close to earth's temperature range (270 K).  Others in the graph that he showed were within the potential range where water could be liquid.

These are now being tracked by the Habitable Exoplanets Catalogue at Arecibo.

See:
http://phl.upr.edu/projects/habitable-exoplanets-catalog and http://phl.upr.edu/projects/habitable-exoplanets-catalog/stats

BTW, for those interested in exoplanets, I recommend following @ProfAbelMendez

--- Tony

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #275 on: 08/19/2013 06:01 PM »

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #276 on: 10/31/2013 06:36 PM »

MEDIA ADVISORY M13-168

 


NASA Hosts Media Briefing To Discuss Kepler Results

 






NASA will video stream a news briefing at 10:15 a.m. PST (1:15 p.m. EST) Monday, Nov. 4, to announce new results from the agency's Kepler mission. The briefing, taking place during the Kepler Science Conference, will be in building 152 at NASA Research Park in Moffett Field, Calif.

With its 2009 launch, Kepler became the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-sized planets in or near the habitable zone -- the region around a star in which orbiting planets may have surface temperatures that would sustain liquid water. In its last four years of exploration, the Kepler space telescope has detected planets and planet candidates, varying widely in size and orbital distances, helping us better understand our place in the universe.

The briefing participants are:

-- William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator, Ames
-- Jason Rowe, research scientist, SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif.
-- Erik Petigura, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley, Calif.
-- William Chaplin, professor for Astrophysics, University of Birmingham, UK

Media may attend in person or by teleconference. To register or obtain dial-in information, contact Michele Johnson at 650-604-6982 or michele.johnson@nasa.gov by 8 a.m. PST Monday.

Media and the public may submit questions via Twitter using  #AskNASA.

The event will be streamed live at:

http://connect.arc.nasa.gov/kepler

For more information about the Kepler mission and to view the digital press kit, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #277 on: 10/31/2013 07:44 PM »
I've now got another reason to look forward to next week besides the Soyuz launch on my birthday!  I see a SETI scientist is one of the presenters. Could it be.....an earth like planet just got found?
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #278 on: 10/31/2013 07:59 PM »
Could it be.....an earth like planet just got found?

Might be something related to this: http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=1459&view=findpost&p=204213


Offline jebbo

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #279 on: 11/01/2013 10:29 AM »
Jason Rowe is also associated with NASA Ames so the SETI institute might be a red herring.  However, he is also chairing a session on the Q1 to Q12 planet candidate catalogue. 

This has about ~36 potentially habitable candidates in it, so it is possible some of these have been confirmed (possibly by astroseismology - Bill Chaplin's speciality, I believe).  Petigura is chairing a session on the frequency of planet occurence which could also be related.

However, the briefing could be about all sorts of other things (e.g. Kepler-78b as linked above, KOI-351 which is a compact 7 planet solar system analogue, or about the radius / mass / density relationship which indicates candidates with a radius < 3x Rearth are likely to be rocky).

I do think they will be keeping something very interesting for announcement during the conference, but as for what it is likely to be, I'm looking forward to finding out:-)


--- Tony
« Last Edit: 11/01/2013 10:31 AM by jebbo »

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