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NASA Science

NASA's Kepler Mission Extended For Two Years 58

An anonymous reader writes "A report just released from NASA's senior review panel recommends extending the Kepler mission(Pdf), initially for two years. 'Kepler is not only a unique source of exoplanet discoveries, but also an organizing and rallying point for exo-planet research. It has enabled remarkable stellar science." The scaled-down budget for the extended mission was broadly expected to include funding only for continued operations and management, with no funding for science. Astronomers have already started seeking private funding to continue their Kepler-related work, through crowd-funding websites like PetriDish and FundaGeek, as well as through the non-profit Pale Blue Dot project."
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NASA's Kepler Mission Extended For Two Years

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  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @08:26PM (#39567339)

    But I think already we have the important data: thousands of planets! And these are just that tiny fraction that have orbits that take them across the line between their sun and ours. Thousands of times as many planets have orbits that would not cause a transit.

    The point is we now have enough data to estimate the density of planets in the galaxy. So you could say the basic goals of Kepler have been accomplished and the rest is gravy.

  • by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) <> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:33PM (#39567757) Homepage

    There's a fine line between "these pedantic assholes who get off on correcting people" and people who disagree with you and are therefore wrong.

    Grandparent has a decent point, but the fact that he whiffed on several key points detracts from his argument. No, the army doesn't have fighters. Also, No, the president can't declare war. You might call it a pendantic asshole point when I say that we haven't gone to "war" in 70 years. But, calling every military action a "war" is incorrect. Just as the president using the military as his personal pop-gun squad without the approval of the people (or more accurately, their elected representatives.) is incorrect. It's not that hard to double check something, especially here on ye olde intertubes. Doing so kinda fits with that whole "Do it right the first time" ethic that has died off in society these days.

    If you want to make your point heard, don't run around screaming half-assed, half remembered sound bites. Make a simple, well thought out, perhaps even slightly researched point. It's harder to refute. You also find out interesting things like the fact that it costs a mere $2.5 million dollars per year to run the Allen Seti array (, and that the government accounting office was estimating a cost of $412 million per unit for the F-22 ( So you could run the array for about 165 years on the cost of "one army fighter." 165 years vs. 1 year? Gosh, that argument just gained some interesting new perspective, and I did it without sounding like your drunk uncle who spent thanksgiving bleating out Rush Limbaugh's fascinating rhetoric and explaining how liberals are ruining the country.

  • Re:Wonderful (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:15AM (#39570137) Journal

    I REALLY hate to be a party pooper but....why? Frankly our engine tech hasn't really evolved since Nazis were using them to drop V2s on london so even if we find a bazillion worlds out there our pathetic tech means that even if we sent a generation ship you are talking tens of thousands of years before we could even get there, much less any chance of turning around if you find its just a big rock without the ability to sustain life.

    Personally while I think its great they are keeping it going, simply because its a sunk cost and therefor wasteful to just toss it when it could be doing useful work, i think we have better uses for our limited space budgets than looking for planets a bazillion light years away. After all we have two, possibly three, places where we might find life in our very own solar system not to mention we should probably be looking ahead to when our supplies start to run low and should be mapping what resources are where for the possibility of future mining.

    Like I said, really glad they are not just pulling the plug as long as its got power, but I just don't think other than using this until its used up that we should be devoting any real resources to this when we have no way to even get to our outer planets in any reasonable amount of time, much less leave the system. Hell even sending a "Is there anybody there?" message to most of these at the speed of light would be on the order of hundreds or even thousands of years.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".