Science Processing Support for NASA Discovery Program's Kepler Mission
In December 2001, the Kepler Mission became the 10th spaceprobe selected for flight by NASA’s Discovery Program, and the first such mission set to achieve goals under NASA’s Origins theme. Kepler seeks to 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. It achieves this goal through transit photometry by monitoring >100,000 main-sequence stars continuously and simultaneously for at least 4 years, to detect signatures of transiting planets in the flux time series of their host stars. The Kepler Mission successfully completed its Mission Critical Design Review and is entering the implementation phase. This study supports the implementation and operation of the signal processing chain for the Kepler Mission throughout the entire lifecycle of the mission that ends in November 2013.