The Kepler Mission is a space photometer being developed by NASA to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. It will observe the brightness over 100,000 stars over 3.5 years. The Kepler Mission will,for the first time,enable humans to search our galaxy for Earth size or even smaller planets.
The scientific objective of the Kepler Mission is to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems and determine how many terrestrial and larger planets are there in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of spectral types of stars. It will also determine the range of orbit size, brightness, size, mass and density of short period giant planets, while determining the properties of those stars that harbour planetary systems. Data from the mission will be used for studying variable stars of various types and performing asteroseismology, particularly on stars showing solar-like oscillations.
How Will Kepler Do It?
Kepler will monitor more than 100,000 stars for signatures of planets of various sizes and orbital distances. It has the ability to locate rocky planets like Earth, including those that lie in a star's habitable zone," a region where liquid water, and perhaps life, could exist. If these Earth-size worlds do exist around stars like our sun, Kepler is expected to be the first to measure their frequency..