What to do with a 2-wheeled Kepler?

Now that Kepler is officially 2-wheeled,  NASA and the Kepler team are looking at what Kepler could be re-purposed to do. Except for having a bum leg, the rest of Kepler is in good shape. NASA put out a call for white papers, detailed proposals for ideas  for what to potentially do next with Kepler. There was no shortage of ideas. In total there were 42 white papers.  The proposed ideas ranged from studying the photometric variability of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) to a microlensing planet search. There is even a white paper from Kepler’s Principal Investigator (PI) Bill Borucki on how Kepler could continue exoplanet observations (though perhaps not at the same precision before the wheel failure). There are also other proposed options to do an exoplanet transit search by targeting new fields where the Kepler pointing would be better than going back to the the current Kepler field, though likely the observation span would be different from that before the reaction wheel failure. There are even proposals to stay the course and continue to follow-up the Kepler field even with the reduced sensitivity to transit depth with the aim of monitoring known Kepler planetary systems for transit timing variations (TTVs) and also look for long period giant planets.

If you’re interested in reading about all the proposed ideas in gory detail, all the white papers are online and freely available on the Kepler Guest Observer website. If you’re interested in the abridged version, Astrobites has an excellent summary by Nick Ballering highlighting the main categories of use cases proposed.

Some time in the Spring of 2014, NASA will  decide on an alternative plan for Kepler and hopefully if there is funding, Kepler will be taking data in the Fall of 2014 whether it’s looking for exoplanets, searching for Near Earth Asteroids, or something else.

About these ads

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. K2 – Kepler’s (Proposed) 2nd Exoplanet Mission | Planet Hunters - November 18, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 189,695 other followers

%d bloggers like this: