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Kepler Guest Observer Program

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Purposes of the Kepler Extended Mission

1. Purposes and Implementation of the Extended Mission

1.1 Continue exoplanet survey operation to produce an initial catalog of planet candidates with >50% completeness for earth-size planet candidates with periods up to one year.
The implementation of this requirement implies continued satellite operation (including uplink, downlink and engineering), target management, data reduction to photometric time series (including pixel time series), transit detection and vetting. An important task will be preparation for a significant target downselect to accommodate decreasing telemetry rates. Pipeline development will continue through at least the first two years of the extended mission. Transit vetting will be conducted by the Science Office with community support as appropriate, using a methodology that maximizes sample uniformity and provides quantification of sample completeness and contamination. The internal project resources of KSAS and KFOP will be phased out before or during the extended mission and replaced with the community resources of the Exoplanet Archive and the Community Follow-up Observing Program (CFOP). The Exoplanet Archive will be funded and developed by NExScI with the Kepler Project a consultant in this activity. CFOP will be funded by the Kepler Project and developed by NExScI.

1.2 Execute a follow-up observing program (Extended Mission FOP) that targets planet candidates with radius <2.5 REarth. Follow-up observations are expected to provide improved stellar parameters leading to improved candidate radii, and high resolution images to increase the catalog reliability for small exoplanet candidates.
The Project will conduct follow-up observations of <2.5 REarth Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) culled from transit vetting results. These observations will obtain classification spectra, high resolution imaging and moderate precision rv measurements. This program will be conducted in a manner similar to the FOP conducted in the primary mission, with a XMFOP coordinator assigned to organize the work of a small number of funded Kepler observers and unfunded community observers as appropriate. The results of these observations and analyses will be posted on the CFOP website as soon as they are reduced and will be available to the community as well as the project.

1.3 Make a determination of ηEarth by analyzing Kepler data, quantifying pipeline completeness, and facilitating community participation.
The Kepler Mission will measure the fraction of stars with Earth-size planets as well as the fraction of stars harboring earth-size planets in the Habitable Zone. Ongoing project and community effort will update stellar parameters and continually scrutinize the KOI list. Assessments will be made of the pipeline detection completeness and KOI reliability. Much of this work will perforce need to be done by the community at large. The Project will work with the community to identify and communicate the necessary work to be done, and will facilitate this work.

1.4 Build and maintain a legacy archive and support community use of the Kepler data.
The Kepler Mission will work with both STScI and NExScI to provide archival data and documentation for long term science investigation. Flight data - raw pixels and light curves - will continue to be delivered to STScI for long term archiving. This archive will also host relevant spacecraft engineering data, data release notes and other documentation to enable future investigations. Results of the Kepler planet search will be delivered to NExScI for long term archiving. This archive will host KOI lists, data validation reports, stellar parameters, follow-up observing results and documentation that will allow the community to work with and extend the Kepler planetary search directly, rather than merely with the photometric time series. The Project will conduct periodic reviews of the archive content to assure that it meets users' needs.

1.5 Support community observations with Kepler.
In the extended mission the Project will utilize the infrastructure and processes of the GO and Science Offices to support the general science community. Technical support for the community analysis of data archived at MAST and NExScI will be provided. The GO and Science Offices will continue to provide support for the management of proposals, awarded grants, GO targets and data distribution/archive. The GO website will be expanded to support the broader exoplanet and astrophysics communities, while community tool development, helpdesk operation and community outreach will continue. During the extended mission, the Project will seek more community interaction, including increased presence at conferences and colloquia with a goal of disseminating information and seeding the community with ideas and confidence.

1.6 Maintain an Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program.
The Project will maintain an aggressive EPO effort during the extended mission to build widespread excitement and engagement in the hunt for exoplanets. The two EPO grants will be funded to continue the work of engaging the public and creating/distributing tools for educators and students.


2. Principles of Operation for the Extended Mission

2.1 Data delivery
All mission data and deliverables will become public upon certification by the Kepler project. No artificial delays will be inserted in the certification process.

2.2 Scientific priority
Plans and decisions regarding resources in the extended mission will place an emphasis on small planets and tasks leading towards ηEarth, while maintaining a balance with other scientific goals.

2.3 Resource management
The project will provide best effort work limited by its resource base.


3. Structure and Governance

3.1 Organization Structure
Project management remains vested in the Project Manager and Project Scientist. During the extended mission there will no longer be a formal Kepler Science Team, and a new position is added to the organization, the Mission Scientist, to closely engage with the general science community to effectively exploit the Kepler data.

3.2 Consultative Bodies
During the extended mission, the Kepler Science Council (KSC) will be replaced by a Kepler Exoplanet Council (KEC). The primary purpose of the KEC will be to provide scientific input to the Project and act as a liaison to the broader scientific community with regards to the primary exoplanet goals of the mission. The Kepler Users Panel (KUP) will have a primary purpose of providing support, insight, and perspectives on mission policies, progress and products to facilitate community exploitation of Kepler data.


Questions concerning Kepler's science opportunities and open programs, public archive or community tools? Contact us via the email address.
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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Editor: Martin Still
NASA Official: Jessie Dotson
Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013
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