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Astronomy

Jon Jenkins plenary: Are We Alone? Stories from the Frontline of Kepler's Search for Earth's Twin

A plenary talk from SPIE Optics + Photonics 2013.

11 September 2013, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201309.21

Jon Jenkins, SETI InstituteThe Kepler Mission NASA's undertaking to search for potentially habitable planets, is the topic of a symposium-wide plenary talk by Jon Jenkins of the SETI Institute at NASA Ames Research Center (USA). In "Are We Alone? Stories from the Frontline of Kepler's Search for Earth's Twin," Jenkins discusses the challenges of designing and building the Kepler photometer and its software systems along with the flood of photometric data that Kepler has gathered since its launch in March 2009.

The data gathered on 190,000+ stars has provoked a watershed of results. Over 2,700+ candidate planets have been identified of which an astounding 1171 orbit 467 stars.

Despite a major malfunction to the spacecraft in May, there is still a treasure trove of data that will keep the planetary science community and the astrophysicists busy for many years, if not decades, to come.

Jon Jenkins is a Senior Scientist for the SETI Institute where he conducts research on data processing and detection lgorithms for discovering transiting extrasolar planets. He is the Co-Investigator for Data Analysis for NASA Discovery Program's Kepler Mission. As the Kepler Mission Analysis Lead, Jenkins is responsible for developing algorithms for the Kepler Science Operations Center science pipeline and leads the team of developers who implemented the science pipeline.