Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.

Mission Objectives

The scientific objective of the Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems. This is achieved by surveying a large sample of stars to:

  • Determine the abundance of terrestrial and larger planets in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of stars;
  • Determine the distribution of sizes and shapes of the orbits of these planets;
  • Estimate how many planets there are in multiple-star systems;
  • Determine the variety of orbit sizes and planet reflectivities, sizes, masses and densities of short-period giant planets;
  • Identify additional members of each discovered planetary system using other techniques; and
  • Determine the properties of those stars that harbor planetary systems.

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