Scientists and engineers from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler and K2 missions will answer questions about the missions on Reddit.com on Monday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. PDT.
Reddit, a popular online community where users vote on content they find interesting, has a sub-forum for interviews with volunteers who answer questions about their specific experiences. This “I Am A ______, Ask Me Anything,” template attracts people from all walks of life, including high profile ones, like the president of the United States, and the Mars Curiosity team.
Launched in 2009, Kepler is NASA’s first mission to find and confirm small Earth-size planets around other stars in the habitable zone, the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. To date Kepler has identified more than 4,200 exoplanet candidates and verified nearly 1,000 as bonafide planets. Through Kepler discoveries, planets are now known to be common and diverse, showing the universe hosts a vast range of environments.
After the failure of two of its four reaction wheels following the completion of data collection in its primary mission, the Kepler spacecraft was resuscitated this year and reborn as K2, a mission that extends the Kepler legacy to observations in the ecliptic – the part of the sky that is home to the familiar constellations of the zodiac. The K2 mission will continue exoplanet discovery, and introduces new scientific observation opportunities to study notable star clusters, young and old stars, active galaxies and supernovae.
Those interested in posting questions about the missions will be able to do so starting at approximately 7:00 a.m. Kepler/K2 team members will answer questions for about two hours, beginning at 10 a.m. on the Reddit Science forum: https://www.reddit.com/r/science/