Overbye reports on the Kepler mission

The Kepler spacecraft will soon be launched and hopefully start gathering data that will reveal the existence of Earth like planets around other stars. Dennis Overbye has a nice overview of the mission and what’s involved in a Science Times piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/science/03kepl.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=science

Earth like in this case means that the planet has roughly the same, or analogous orbital properties as the Earth. I don’t think that the kind of observations Kepler makes can tell us much about the composition of the planet’s atmosphere, which is obviously of the utmost importance to whether the planet can host life similar to what we know..

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