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Kepler Science Center

The K2 mission is a concept being proposed to NASA through the 2014 Senior Review Process. K2 is currently not a NASA-funded mission and the operational plan described within these web pages is contingent upon future NASA approval and funding. K2 provides an opportunity to continue Kepler’s ground-breaking discoveries in the field of exoplanets and expand its role into new and exciting astrophysical observations by repurposing Kepler as a new mission.

Kepler's loss of a second spacecraft reaction wheel in May 2013 effectively ended data collection in the original Kepler field after 4 years of continuous monitoring. However, all other Kepler assets remain intact and can be used for the K2 mission. Both missions are founded on the proven value of long-baseline, high-cadence, high-precision photometry and exploit a large field of view to simultaneously monitor many targets. On two reaction wheels, K2 is limited to pointing near the ecliptic plane, sequentially observing fields as it orbits the sun. This observing strategy regularly brings new, well-characterized target fields into view, enabling observations of scientifically important objects across a wide range of galactic latitudes in both the northern and southern skies. K2 will perform a series of long, ecliptic-pointed campaigns to collect data for the astrophysical community that will inform their understanding of planet formation processes, young stars, stellar activity, stellar structure and evolution, and extragalactic science. With an estimated photometric performance of 60 ppm (6-hr S/N for a 12th mag G star), the K2 mission offers simultaneous observations of many objects at a precision an order of magnitude better than is achievable from the ground. The proposed approximately 80-day observing campaigns enable a unique exoplanet survey which fills the gaps in duration and sensitivity between the Kepler and TESS missions, and offers pre-launch exoplanet target identification for JWST transmission spectroscopy.

Call for white paper to repurpose the Kepler spacecraft, Aug 1 2013
Dec 2013 Engineering Test Photometry
Community-nominated target lists solicited for Campaigns 2 and 3 (Apr 9, 2014)
Campaign 0 science programs and targets selected (Feb 28, 2014)
The K2 Mission: paper providing a mission characterization and early photometric performance (Feb 28, 2014)
Community-nominated target lists solicited for Campaign 1 (Feb 7, 2014)
Ecliptic Plane Input Catalog (EPIC), for K2 target selection, is live at the MAST (Feb 7, 2014)
Tool for determining whether a potential K2 target is on silicon (Feb 7, 2014)
» Campaign 0 duration: Mar 10-May 30, 2014
» Campaign 2-3 target proposal deadline: May 9, 2014
» Campaign 1 duration: Jun 1-Aug 23, 2014
» Campaign 2 duration: Aug 17-Nov 13, 2014
» Campaign 3 duration: Nov 13, 2014-Feb 4, 2015

Questions concerning K2'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 28, 2014
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