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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The New Horizons Message Initiative...

The Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's New Horizons spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 19, 2006.
Photo by Ben Cooper of LaunchPhotography.com

For a little over a month now, a campaign has been underway to collect 10,000-plus signatures on a petition that called for NASA to approve a crowd-sourced message that would be transmitted to the Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft as early as 2016. In the wake of recent news heralding Voyager 1's arrival into interstellar space back in August of last year, bringing towards the stars a time capsule known as the Golden Record, the same architect behind the Golden Record is asking the public to support a similar effort to place sounds and images celebrating humanity aboard New Horizons—which will fly past Pluto and its (currently) five moons in July of 2015.

Assuming that NASA officially approves the transmission after the petition receives a sufficient amount of signatures (and the project attains full funding through a planned Kickstarter campaign), the reason why the New Horizons Message Initiative (NHMI) team will have to wait till no earlier than 2016 to upload the transmission to the grand piano-sized probe is because there will be no memory space aboard New Horizons for the message before then. Pluto encounter operations for New Horizons is set to begin in January of 2015 and conclude with closest approach to the dwarf planet on July 14 of that year. However, it may take another full year to download all of the Pluto data to Earth before the mission shifts to New Horizons setting sail for a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) located much farther out in the solar system. On the plus side though, the NHMI team plans for the message to be at most 100 megabytes in size when it is relayed to the distant probe; New Horizons would still have 99% storage capacity aboard its flight computers to record observations from a KBO flyby.

An artist's concept of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto.
NASA

Apart from the fact that this is a really cool project that should bring more awareness to New Horizons' trailblazing journey, there is a personal reason why I want this campaign to succeed. If you visit a Blog entry that I posted back in September of 2005, you'll see that I didn't take it lightly when I found out that I could've had my name on a DVD (bearing the monikers of 430,000-plus people who knew about this public relations effort before I did) that was placed on New Horizons before its January 2006 launch. The fact that NHMI is giving me (and everyone else who missed out on this unique opportunity) a second chance to leave a personal mark on this deep-space mission is exciting. And that's why I'm talking about it now...and that's why I want you guys to participate in this great project today!

Apart from the crowd-sourced message that should contain some very interesting photos, sounds and (possibly) videos depicting mankind up to these last few years of the early 21st Century, the first 10,000 individuals to sign the petition will have their names uploaded to New Horizons as well. 4,000 folks have already left their mark on NHMI— You should, too!

LINK: Sign the petition to support the New Horizons Message Initiative

Support the NEW HORIZONS MESSAGE INITIATIVE.

NEW HORIZONS Blog Entries Archive:

September 26, 2005
December 19, 2005
January 7, 2006
January 17, 2006
January 19, 2006
April 12, 2006
June 15, 2006
February 27, 2007
October 22, 2007
June 8, 2008
October 23, 2008
March 18, 2011
January 20, 2012
July 13, 2012
January 19, 2013
October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kepler Update...

An artist's concept of the exoplanet Kepler-78b orbiting its parent star.
David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Scientists Discover the First Earth-Sized Rocky Planet (Press Release)

Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet outside the solar system that has a rocky composition like that of Earth. Kepler-78b whizzes around its host star every 8.5 hours, making it a blazing inferno and not suitable for life as we know it. The results are published in two papers in the journal Nature.

"The news arrived in grand style with the message: 'Kepler-10b has a baby brother,'" said Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. Batalha led the team that discovered Kepler-10b, a larger but also rocky planet identified by the Kepler spacecraft.

"The message expresses the joy of knowing that Kepler's family of exoplanets is growing," Batalha reflects. "It also speaks of progress. The Doppler teams are attaining higher precision, measuring masses of smaller planets at each turn. This bodes well for the broader goal of one day finding evidence of life beyond Earth."

Kepler-78b was discovered using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which for four years simultaneously and continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars looking for telltale dips in their brightness caused by crossing, or transiting, planets.

Two independent research teams then used ground-based telescopes to confirm and characterize Kepler-78b. To determine the planet's mass, the teams employed the radial velocity method to measure how much the gravitation tug of an orbiting planet causes its star to wobble. Kepler, on the other hand, determines the size or radius of a planet by the amount of starlight blocked when it passes in front of its host star.

A handful of planets the size or mass of Earth have been discovered. Kepler-78b is the first to have both a measured mass and size. With both quantities known, scientists can calculate a density and determine what the planet is made of.

Kepler-78b is 1.2 times the size of Earth and 1.7 times more massive, resulting in a density that is the same as Earth's. This suggests that Kepler-78b is also made primarily of rock and iron. Its star is slightly smaller and less massive than the sun and is located about 400 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

One team led by Andrew Howard from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, made follow-up observations using the W. M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. More information on their research can be found here.

The other team led by Francesco Pepe from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, did their ground-base work at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands. More information on their research can be found here.

This result will be one of many discussed next week at the second Kepler science conference Nov. 4-8 at Ames. More than 400 astrophysicists from Australia, China, Europe, Latin America and the US will convene to present their latest results using publicly accessible data from Kepler. To learn more about the conference, please visit the website.

Source: NASA.Gov

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An artist's concept comparing the size of Kepler-78b to Earth.
David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Monday, October 28, 2013

MAVEN Will Soon Be Ready For Flight...

The MAVEN spacecraft is about to undergo a spin test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 21, 2013.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

NASA Prepares to Launch First Mission to Explore Martian Atmosphere (Press Release)

A NASA spacecraft that will examine the upper atmosphere of Mars in unprecedented detail is undergoing final preparations for a scheduled 1:28 p.m. EST Monday, Nov. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) will examine specific processes on Mars that led to the loss of much of its atmosphere. Data and analysis could tell planetary scientists the history of climate change on the Red Planet and provide further information on the history of planetary habitability.

"The MAVEN mission is a significant step toward unraveling the planetary puzzle about Mars' past and present environments," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "The knowledge we gain will build on past and current missions examining Mars and will help inform future missions to send humans to Mars."

The 5,410-pound spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket on a 10-month journey to Mars. After arriving at Mars in September 2014, MAVEN will settle into its elliptical science orbit.

Over the course of its one-Earth-year primary mission, MAVEN will observe all of Mars' latitudes. Altitudes will range from 93 miles to more than 3,800 miles. During the primary mission, MAVEN will execute five deep dip maneuvers, descending to an altitude of 78 miles. This marks the lower boundary of the planet's upper atmosphere.

"Launch is an important event, but it's only a step along the way to getting the science measurements," said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP) in Boulder. "We're excited about the science we'll be doing, and are anxious now to get to Mars."

The MAVEN spacecraft will carry three instrument suites. The Particles and Fields Package, provided by the University of California at Berkeley with support from CU/LASP and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., contains six instruments to characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of Mars. The Remote Sensing Package, built by CU/LASP, will determine global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, built by Goddard, will measure the composition of Mars’ upper atmosphere.

"When we proposed and were selected to develop MAVEN back in 2008, we set our sights on Nov. 18, 2013, as our first launch opportunity," said Dave Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at Goddard. "Now we are poised to launch on that very day. That's quite an accomplishment by the team."

MAVEN's principal investigator is based at CU/LASP. The university provided science instruments and leads science operations, as well as education and public outreach, for the mission.

Goddard manages the project and provided two of the science instruments for the mission.

Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory provided science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, Deep Space Network support, and Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

Source: NASA.Gov

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MAVEN's Atlas V launch vehicle is ready for its October 29 Wet Dress Rehearsal at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA / Kim Shiflett

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sleepy Hollow...

Just thought I'd share this cool animated GIF that was provided to me courtesy of the hit FOX TV show's Facebook page. The next new episode for Sleepy Hollow won't air till Monday, November 4 (due to Game 5 of the World Series being played tomorrow. Red Sox... Cardinals... Don't really care who ends up winning this year's MLB championship), but when it does, I can't wait to see what the Headless Horsemen and his brethren have in store for Lieutenant Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane. Oh, and in case you don't know yet, Sleepy Hollow has been picked up for a second season. Word.

SLEEPY HOLLOW animated GIF.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Beware of the Tanzanian Lake...

A petrified vulture that was found at Lake Natron in Tanzania.
© Nick Brandt 2013 / Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

These eerie images were posted online weeks ago, but just thought I'd share them on my Blog today. Traveling in Tanzania, a photographer named Nick Brandt stumbled upon the petrified remains of birds and other animals at Lake Natron—which, like the mythical Greek monster Medusa, turned any creature that got near it into stone. The reason for this is because of the chemical makeup of this lethal body of water...which, like California's Mono Lake, has a pH content that makes the water not conducive to drinking or even swimming in. Click on this link to view more pics of unwitting creatures that dared venture to this lake. Just don't read the comments that are posted below that article. Like on YouTube, most of these people are just sooo stupid.

By the way, this phenomenon makes for a very cool sci-fi horror film. If I had Final Draft again [my original CD for the scriptwriting program became unreadable back in 2009 (don't know why)] I'd be working on my own screenplay about it. Have a great day.

A petrified avian that was found at Lake Natron in Tanzania.
© Nick Brandt 2013 / Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

A petrified flamingo that was found at Lake Natron in Tanzania.
© Nick Brandt 2013 / Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

A petrified avian that was found at Lake Natron in Tanzania.
© Nick Brandt 2013 / Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Just How Pathetic Are The L.A. Clippers?

They haven't won one Western Conference championship let alone an NBA title, and this team thinks that it earns the right to hang banners—any kind of banners—along the same rafters at STAPLES Center as the Lakers, Kings and Sparks...all champions at some point in this century. Clearly, this lame move was the work of Boston transplant Doc Rivers, who's trying to prevent Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company from being reminded that they still play in the House of Kobe and Gasol (plus Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick for that matter). 'Kay, that's enough hatin' on Clipper Nation for now. Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Los Angeles Clippers are trying to hide the fact that they still play in the House of Lakers.
Evan Gole / Getty Images

Monday, October 21, 2013

Juno Update...

An image of Earth's Moon taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft as it flew past our planet for a gravity assist maneuver to Jupiter, on October 9, 2013.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / Malin Space Science Systems / Adam Hurcewicz

Check out this cool photo of Earth that NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft took as it flew within 350 miles of our planet for a gravity assist maneuver on October 9. The image of the Moon above was also taken by Juno, but the pic below is a nice preview of how Jupiter will look once the spacecraft's "JunoCam" begins taking snapshots of the gas giant after Juno arrives there on July 4, 2016. Can't wait for that Independence Day!

An image of Earth taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft as it flew past our planet for a gravity assist maneuver to Jupiter, on October 9, 2013.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / Malin Space Science Systems / Gerald - UnmannedSpaceFlight.com

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quote of the Day...

"Besides the obvious difference, there was not much distinction between losing a best friend and losing a lover: it was all about intimacy. One moment, you had someone to share your biggest triumphs and fatal flaws with; the next minute, you had to keep them bottled inside. One moment, you'd start to call her to tell her a snippet of news or to vent about your awful day before realizing you did not have that right anymore; the next, you could not remember the digits of her phone number."

-― Jodi Picoult

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Government Shutdown is Over! (For Now...)

In celebration of the fact that Congress has passed a budget (that will last at least till next January), just thought I'd post this amazing mosaic of Saturn that has been making its rounds around the Internet today. The images that comprise this portrait were taken on October 10 by the Cassini spacecraft, which—like New Horizons, the Curiosity Mars rover, Dawn, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Voyagers 1 and 2 as well as other deep space probes—has been collecting data despite the fact scientists were embargoed from publicly sharing scientific results due to the shutdown. That won't be the case for the next three months, unless Congress gets its act together and actually pass a real budget that will be good for you know, a full year?

A mosaic of Saturn that is comprised of images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on October 10, 2013.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / Space Science Institute / G. Ugarkovic

Monday, October 14, 2013

Endeavour Fest...

Posing with Felix Baumgartner's 'spacediver' flight suit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

Yesterday, I drove down to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to view three displays that presented the past, present and future of aerospace and human spaceflight. Along with seeing space shuttle Endeavour and a SpaceX Dragon capsule in person once more (click here to view the photos), I also got to view up-close the Red Bull Stratos capsule from which Felix Baumgartner jumped out of during his historic space dive one year ago today. His pressure suit was also on display, and as you can see from the pic above, it looks like the suit would fit just right on me. Of course, I would need a bit of training and the multi-million dollar support of a company like Red Bull to make me become only the third person in humankind to skydive from outer space, hah. There's always SpaceShipTwo...and me winning the lottery to make that trip happen.

A close-up of Felix Baumgartner's 'spacediver' flight helmet at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

A close-up of Felix Baumgartner's 'spacediver' flight suit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

Felix Baumgartner's 'spacediver' flight suit on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

The Red Bull Stratos capsule used for Felix Baumgartner's historic space jump...on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

Posing with the Red Bull Stratos capsule used for Felix Baumgartner's historic space jump, on October 13, 2013.

An iconic photo of Felix Baumgartner leaping out of the Red Bull Stratos capsule for his historic space jump...on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

The Red Bull Stratos capsule used for Felix Baumgartner's historic space jump...on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 13, 2013.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Quote of the Day, Part 2...

"It's much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things. I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to be who I really am. And I'm going to figure out what that is. And we could all sit around and wonder and feel bad about each other and blame a lot of people for what they did or didn't do or what they didn't know. I don't know. I guess there could always be someone to blame. It's just different. Maybe it's good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it's okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. I feel infinite."

-― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Monday, October 07, 2013

Quote of the Day...

"How is it possible to miss a woman whom you kept at a distance, so that when she was gone you would not miss her?"

-― Steve Martin, Shopgirl

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Visiting Catalina Island...

Avalon Bay as seen from a Catalina Island hillside, on October 4, 2013.

So yesterday, I drove down to Dana Point in Orange County, California, to embark on a free boat ride to the tropical getaway of Catalina Island. The reason why this boat trip was free (it would've been a $75 round-trip otherwise) was because it was my birthday yesterday. For those of you thinking about visiting Catalina without paying a dime to board the Catalina Express, which is the primary form of travel to a destination that is only 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, you have till April 30th of next year to venture to the island without buying a boat pass. I only visited Avalon Bay on this trip...but what makes this locale so awesome is the fact that different parts of the harbor somewhat resemble different coastal regions around the world. If the photos posted with this Blog entry are any hopeful indication, you'll probably think that you're in Hawaii, a European town overlooking the Mediterranean, a beach in Florida and even a village near a South China Sea shoreline in Southeast Asia. But don't take my word for it— Visit this link to sign up for a free voyage to this Southern California tourist spot right away. And no, I wasn't paid by Catalina Express to promote that. Have a great weekend, everyone!

LINK: Click here for more images from my trip to Catalina Island

Cruising away from Dana Point in Orange County, California, to head to Catalina Island...on October 4, 2013.

My ride to and from Catalina Island: The Catalina Express.

Avalon Bay as seen from another Catalina Island hillside, on October 4, 2013.

The Sun sets over Avalon Bay at Catalina Island, on October 4, 2013.

If only this pelican knew how many folks at Avalon Bay posed for pictures with this fella, on October 4, 2013.

Departing Catalina Island under the evening sky...on October 4, 2013.

Back in Dana Point in Orange County, California...on October 4, 2013.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Government Shutdown...

Just thought I'd share this pic that one of my friends posted on Facebook today...which sums up just how out of tune the Republican Party is with the American people. The last time the U.S. government shut down was back in 1995-'96...when another Democrat (Bill Clinton) was in the Oval Office—and the GOP wanted to reduce funding to Medicare (as opposed to currently wanting to do away with the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare), public health, education and other programs. It remains to be seen how long this nonsense will last (the '95 shutdown lasted 28 days), but at least the mail is still coming in! Should expect a paycheck or two by today or tomorrow.

On another shutdown-related note, NASA celebrated its 55th birthday on Tuesday...and marked this milestone by ceasing work on everything that didn't involve the International Space Station or robotic probes and satellites already operating out in space. These craft obviously don't include the MAVEN Mars orbiter, which is a little over a month from its scheduled launch date on November 18...but is currently sitting silent at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It remains to be seen if the shutdown will end in time for MAVEN to resume launch preps to meet its November lift-off date, or—like the Curiosity Mars rover (which was originally suppose to depart for the Red Planet in 2009 but had to wait till 2011 to leave Earth)—will have its flight delayed to the next launch opportunity to Mars...which won't be till 2016. If that's the case, then I'd have to thank Congress; for being a bunch of dumbasses. Carry on.

EDIT (3:13 PM, PDT): Looks like Congress isn't completely filled with imbeciles... NASA will be allowed to continue launch processing for the MAVEN spacecraft due to cost issues and the time-critical nature of this mission!

Jimmy Carter has a point.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Kepler Update...

An artist's concept comparing the size of Kepler-7b to Jupiter.
NASA / JPL - Caltech / MIT

NASA Space Telescopes Find Patchy Clouds on Exotic World (Press Release - September 30)

PASADENA, Calif. -- Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have created the first cloud map of a planet beyond our solar system, a sizzling, Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b.

The planet is marked by high clouds in the west and clear skies in the east. Previous studies from Spitzer have resulted in temperature maps of planets orbiting other stars, but this is the first look at cloud structures on a distant world.

"By observing this planet with Spitzer and Kepler for more than three years, we were able to produce a very low-resolution 'map' of this giant, gaseous planet," said Brice-Olivier Demory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Demory is lead author of a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "We wouldn't expect to see oceans or continents on this type of world, but we detected a clear, reflective signature that we interpreted as clouds."

Kepler has discovered more than 150 exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, and Kepler-7b was one of the first. The telescope's problematic reaction wheels prevent it from hunting planets any more, but astronomers continue to pore over almost four years' worth of collected data.

Kepler's visible-light observations of Kepler-7b's moon-like phases led to a rough map of the planet that showed a bright spot on its western hemisphere. But these data were not enough on their own to decipher whether the bright spot was coming from clouds or heat. The Spitzer Space Telescope played a crucial role in answering this question.

Like Kepler, Spitzer can fix its gaze at a star system as a planet orbits around the star, gathering clues about the planet's atmosphere. Spitzer's ability to detect infrared light means it was able to measure Kepler-7b's temperature, estimating it to be between 1,500 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,100 and 1,300 Kelvin). This is relatively cool for a planet that orbits so close to its star -- within 0.06 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is the distance from Earth and the sun) -- and, according to astronomers, too cool to be the source of light Kepler observed. Instead, they determined, light from the planet's star is bouncing off cloud tops located on the west side of the planet.

"Kepler-7b reflects much more light than most giant planets we've found, which we attribute to clouds in the upper atmosphere," said Thomas Barclay, Kepler scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "Unlike those on Earth, the cloud patterns on this planet do not seem to change much over time -- it has a remarkably stable climate."

The findings are an early step toward using similar techniques to study the atmospheres of planets more like Earth in composition and size.

"With Spitzer and Kepler together, we have a multi-wavelength tool for getting a good look at planets that are trillions of miles away," said Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics Division in Washington. "We're at a point now in exoplanet science where we are moving beyond just detecting exoplanets, and into the exciting science of understanding them."

Kepler identified planets by watching for dips in starlight that occur as the planets transit, or pass in front of their stars, blocking the light. This technique and other observations of Kepler-7b previously revealed that it is one of the puffiest planets known: if it could somehow be placed in a tub of water, it would float. The planet was also found to whip around its star in just less than five days.

Explore all 900-plus exoplanet discoveries with NASA's "Eyes on Exoplanets," a fully rendered 3D visualization tool, available for download at http://eyes.nasa.gov/exoplanets. The program is updated daily with the latest findings from NASA's Kepler mission and ground-based observatories around the world as they search for planets like our own.

Other authors include: Julien de Wit, Nikole Lewis, Andras Zsom and Sara Seager of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jonathan Fortney of the University of California, Santa Cruz; Heather Knutson and Jean-Michel Desert of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Kevin Heng of the University of Bern, Switzerland; Nikku Madhusudhan of Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Michael Gillon of the University of Li├Ęge, Belgium; Vivien Parmentier of the French National Center for Scientific Research, France; and Nicolas Cowan of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Lewis is also a NASA Sagan Fellow.

The technical paper is online at http://www.mit.edu/~demory/preprints/kepler-7b_clouds.pdf.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Ames is responsible for Kepler's ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. JPL managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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A computer-generated image of the Kepler telescope in space.
NASA