NASA is set to make an announcement Monday morning regarding results from the Kepler mission on the hunt for exoplanets, possibly habitable ones. The announcement will be live streamed from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California at 11 a.m. EDT, according to a press release.
The announcement will be part of the week-long Kepler Science Conference that began Saturday and concerns the latest exoplanet candidates that the Kepler mission has discovered in deep space. Once planets are classified as candidates then they can be studied further to determine whether they are actually viable and confirmed exoplanets.
Since the Kepler mission began in 2009, the telescope has helped researchers identify thousands of exoplanet candidates, and more than 2,000 of those have turned out to be confirmed exoplanets. Additionally, 21 of those planets have been determined to be in the habitable zone, where conditions would be those that could allow possible forms of live to survive or even thrive. And most importantly, where there could be water.
The Kepler space telescope launched in 2009 in search of potentially habitable planets beyond our solar system called exoplanets. It was the first mission to ever be capable of such a feat, other telescopes had not been strong enough. In 2013 it lost mobility, although the primary mission had officially completed in 2012, researchers were still getting rich information from the telescope. So they reexamined their plan and came up with a new way to use Kepler.
The K2 mission was born out of necessity to find a way to still use the telescope after the mobility issue. NASA now controls the telescope with the two remaining working wheels it has and thrusters. Despite its limited view, it’s found more than 500 candidates, more than 100 of which have been confirmed exoplanets.
“The latest Kepler catalog of planet candidates was created using the most sophisticated analyses yet, yielding the most complete and reliable accounting of distant worlds to date. This survey will enable new lines of research in exoplanet study, which looks at planets outside our solar system,” said the release from NASA about Monday’s announcement.
Monday’s announcement comes just months after NASA’s announcement about the discovery of three Earth-size planets in the habitable zone called the Trappist-1 system. These planets are also exoplanets although they were discovered by the Spitzer Space Telescope rather than the Kepler telescope.
There will be four researchers who were involved in examining Kepler’s findings present at the announcement. Those watching at home via NASA’s live stream can ask questions by Tweeting and using the hashtag #AskKepler.
The live stream is available on NASA’s website as well as their live YouTube channels and here: