Space

February 7, 2014

National Space Club honors Kepler’s planet hunters

NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission will be honored with the National Space Club’s preeminent award, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, in March.

The National Space Club is recognizing Kepler for revolutionizing astrophysics and exoplanet science by expanding the census of planets beyond our solar system and fundamentally altering our understanding of our place in the Milky Way galaxy. The award citation acknowledges the Kepler team’s significant contribution to U.S. leadership in the field of rocketry and astronautics.

“This is an outstanding achievement for the entire Kepler team,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “Kepler continues to surprise and inspire us on a regular basis and I’m delighted to see the team’s pioneering work acknowledged with the Goddard Trophy.”

The trophy will be presented at a 57th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner March 7 in Washington. Previous winners of the Goddard Trophy include NASA’s Curiosity and Mars Science Laboratory team, James A. Van Allen and the Apollo 11 astronaut crew.

Developed jointly by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., Kepler was launched in 2009. It is the first NASA mission to find Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the surface of an orbiting planet.

“Kepler’s determination that most stars have planets and that Earth-size planets are common provides impetus to future missions that will determine whether many planets have atmospheres compatible with the possibility of life,” said William Borucki, Kepler principal investigator at Ames. “The future science enabled by the Kepler results will be one of the mission’s greatest legacies.”

Borucki and the team continue to analyze four years of collected data. Discoveries include more than 3,600 exoplanet candidates, of which 246 have been confirmed as exoplanets. They expect hundreds, if not thousands, of new discoveries contained within the data. This could include discovering long-awaited Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars.

Ames Center Director Pete S. Worden praised Kepler as “a hallmark of Ames ingenuity and humankind’s collective spirit to advance the frontier.” Worden said, “We may come up with ideas no one thinks are possible, but the collaboration of hundreds of scientists, engineers and managers from around the world has taken us closer to answering one of the ultimate questions: Are we alone?”

Jim Fanson, Kepler development phase project manager at JPL, commented on the historical implications of the mission. “Kepler has revolutionized our understanding of solar systems around other stars in the galaxy, and in so doing has transformed our view of our own island home,” Fanson said.

The National Space Club is a non-profit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government and through a continuing program of educational support.

A full list of 2014 award winners is online at http://www.spaceclub.org/awards.html.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 
 
Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Satellite study reveals parched U.S. West using up underground water

Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation The Colorado River Basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet of freshwater over the past nine years, according to a new study based on data from NASA’s GRACE mission. This is almost d...
 
 

NASA selects contract for mission support services at Ames

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Houston, to support NASA’s flight programs and mission projects, providing support for multiple sustained project management, research and technology development capabilities that encompass all phases of mission and project lifecycles at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The cost-plus-fixed-fee hybrid contract has a...
 

 
NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC) image

Hubble finds three surprisingly dry exoplanets

NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC) image This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus. To the surprise of astronomers, they have found much less water vapor i...
 
 
Air Force photograph

Budget cuts, growing threats affect space operations

Air Force photograph The Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF, system is a joint service satellite communications system that provides survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priori...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>