Characterizing Exoplanet Frequencies from the Results of the Kepler Mission

Grant #: NNX10AK59A
Senior Scientist: Douglas Caldwell

On March 6th 2009, the Kepler spacecraft launched successfully to begin a mission determine the prevalence of Earth-sized and larger planets orbiting solar-like stars in the solar neighborhood, and to characterize the stellar properties favoring the development of planetary systems.

The Kepler Mission achieves this goal through transit photometry by monitoring >100,000 main-sequence stars continuously and simultaneously for at least 3 ½ years, to detect signatures of transiting planets in the flux time series of their host stars.

This proposal seeks to support the interpretation of the Kepler Mission results in order to understand the frequency of Earth-size planets. The work will include analysis of both Kepler photometer data and follow-up data, such as high-resolution radial velocity data from Keck, or other ground-based telescopes.