Important Information

Motivation for this workshop


NASA’s Kepler Mission invites scientists actively pursuing research on exoplanet populations to a three-day collaborative working meeting at NASA Ames Research Center, October 13-15. Participants will learn about Kepler occurrence rate products, write and execute code, compare and interpret results, brainstorm and strategize — all in real time with colleagues interested in similar research problems.

The objective is to create a collaborative work space to experiment with Kepler’s discovery catalog and the associated occurrence rate products together with the experts responsible for producing those products. In the spirit of a hack event, participants will design their own activities based on common interests. We envision breakout groups studying spectral type dependencies, eta-earth estimates, comparisons between different methodologies, architecture demographics, sensitivity to various input assumptions, etc. Kepler project personnel will be on-hand both as active participants and listeners. We hope to collect constructive suggestions and advice from the community as they utilize the data products.

We expect our three days together to sow seeds of publishable results. We also expect our efforts to result in improved Kepler data products. The project’s goal is to ensure that Kepler leaves a legacy that remains valuable and relevant for many years beyond the mission closeout.


The scientific objective of NASA’s Kepler Mission is to explore the diversity of planets and planetary systems. Its legacy will be a catalog of discoveries sufficient for computing planet occurrence rates as a function of size, orbit, and star type for planets orbiting within 1AU of their host stars. The mission has made significant progress toward achieving that goal. Interim data products have allowed scientists to develop and test population inference tools. We’ve learned that small planets are more common than large planets interior to 1 AU. We see tantalizing hints that M-type stars harbor larger numbers of small planets than G-type stars. And eta-Earth for the M-type stars hovers around 0.2 for the recent-Venus/early-Mars habitable zone and planets between 1 and 1.5 Re.

Soon, researchers will be able to exercise their population inference tools on Kepler’s final planet catalog. The project has a three-year closeout period that started October 2014 and ends September 2017. During the closeout period, the mission will implement final improvements to the detection pipeline, generate the final exoplanet catalog, and measure the detection completeness and reliability. The project is rapidly converging on a comprehensive set of measurements expected to yield the most complete picture of exoplanet populations ever formed.

The closeout period is a critical time for establishing Kepler’s legacy data products and achieving the mission’s high-level science objective: determining the frequency of potentially habitable earth-size planets. We recognize that the astronomical community will continue to characterize Kepler planets as well as the stars they orbit for many years beyond the Kepler closeout period. As the knowledge base grows, the community should be equipped to revise planet occurrence rates and provide more reliable estimates of eta-Earth. The Kepler Mission is committed to providing measurements and data products that remain relevant for many years to come.

The hack event will provide a forum for project scientists and community researchers to interact. Through real-time collaborative work on interesting astrophysical problems related to exoplanet populations, the hack event will enable community feedback to ensure the lasting value of the Kepler mission legacy.


There will be defined work blocks, but no specific agenda and no formal presentations. The scientific organizing committee will help to facilitate the organization of the group into smaller teams working both specific and open-ended problems. The Kepler project office will provide relevant information well in advance of the meeting in the form of literature references, project documentation, and guides to the public archives. Teams will share progress at the end of each day.

Several Kepler team members will participate, including (but not limited to):
Six invited participants will help to facilitate the collaborative work:

The invited participants are responsible for collating and delivering feedback to the Kepler team after the event. They serve as a scientific organizing committee for the event.