Jon Jenkins is the Analysis Lead for the Kepler Mission, which means that he heads up a group of about two dozen scientists and programmers who designed and built the software that makes this dramatic search for other worlds possible. With a brightness precision of 20 parts per million, Kepler should be able to discover planets that are the same size as the rocky, inner orbs of our own solar system. By making an inventory of such worlds, Kepler will answer one of the most intriguing questions in astrobiology: are Earth-size planets abundant or rare?
Jenkins is a research scientist for the SETI Institute at NASA Ames Research Center where he conducts research on data processing and detection algorithms for discovering transiting extrasolar planets. He is the Co-Investigator for Data Analysis for NASA Discovery Program’s Kepler Mission. In 2010, Jenkins received NASA’s Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal for his numerous technical achievements throughout development, commissioning and operational phases, which have been critical to the success of Kepler.