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E. K. DeVore (SETI Institute), A. D. Gould (Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley), P. K. Harman (SETI Institute), D. G. Koch (NASA Ames Research Center)
Are we alone? Are there other worlds like our own? Astronomers are discovering large planets, but can smaller planets - new Earths - be found? These are powerful and exciting questions that motivate student learning and public interest in NASA's Kepler Discovery Mission's search for planets. Continual discoveries of extrasolar planets have sparked broad public interest, and Kepler will expand this search to discover planets like our own.
The Kepler Mission Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program focuses on the excitement of discovering Earth-size planets in the habitable zone to enhance student learning and public interest in astronomy and physics. Kepler will launch in 2008, to begin searching for extrasolar Earths. During the first year, we expect Kepler to rapidly detect large planets similar to 51 Peg and smaller Earth-size planets in Mercury-like orbits. By the fourth year, we anticipate the discovery Earth-size planets in habitable zones.
The Kepler EPO program began October 2002 and will continue through at least 2012, and our goals and plans are presented in this poster. The EPO program is scoped to build public interest during development, and to engage students and the public throughout the initial four-year, on-orbit mission and beyond if an extended mission is conducted. The EPO goals are to increase public awareness and understanding of the Kepler Mission by embodying key principles of NASA's "Partners in Education" and "Implementing the OSS Education/ Public Outreach Strategy:" involve scientists and contractors in EPO efforts, establish collaborations with planetariums and science museums, and build on existing programs and networks that maximize the leverage of NASA EPO funding in this project. The Kepler EPO plan is designed to take advantage of existing collaborations, networks, experience, and relationships to optimize the impact of EPO.
Kepler EPO is funded by NASA's Discovery Mission Program, Science Mission Directorate.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.