Abstract: A primary goal of the Kepler mission is to determine the frequency of Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of other stars. M dwarfs, stars that are smaller and cooler than the Sun, comprise more than 70% of the stars in our galaxy. Finding that Earth-sized planets around M dwarfs are common, therefore, has big implications for determining the frequency of other Earths.
In April 2014 we announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, the first definitive Earth-sized planet found to orbit in the habitable zone of a star other than our Sun. We will discuss our methods of combining ground-based observations with transit modeling to confirm this system, and will present our theoretical studies on the formation and habitability of this planet. We will also present updates on several promising multi-planet systems that have Earth-sized, and possibly sub-Earth-sized, candidates in the habitable zones of cool low-mass stars in the Kepler field-of-view.