NASA will host a news teleconference at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday, April 17, to announce a new discovery made by its planet-hunting mission, the Kepler Space Telescope. The journal Science has embargoed the findings until the time of the news conference. For a detailed background briefing, see our post "Getting Closer and Closer" --Kepler Mission Findings Reveal Alien Star Systems in a Milky Way Teeming with Planets.
-- Douglas Hudgins, exoplanet exploration program scientist, NASA's Astrophysics Division in Washington
-- Tom Barclay, research scientist, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames
-- Victoria Meadows, professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, Seattle, and principal investigator for the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, a team in the NASA Astrobiology Institute at Ames
Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone -- the range of distance from a star in which the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might sustain liquid water. The telescope has since detected planets and planet candidates spanning a wide range of sizes and orbital distances, including those in the habitable zone. These findings have led to a better understanding of our place in the galaxy.
The public is invited to listen to the teleconference live on UStream at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-arc and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2
Audio of the teleconference also will be streamed live at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
Questions can be submitted on Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA.
A link to relevant graphics will be posted at the start of the teleconference on NASA's Kepler site: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler