StarDate Radio Programs
The Kepler Mission EPO at SETI Institute works closely with the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas, Austin, to coordinate a series of StarDate radio programs in both English and Spanish featuring Kepler and the search for extrasolar terrestrial planets. StarDate programs are archived as print and audio files online at the StarDate web site (http://stardate.org/). To hear them or read the files, simply go to the StarDate site and enter "Kepler" in the Search box or refer to the list of StarDate programs near the bottom of this page. The programs are also directly accessible from the list below.
Over a 7-year period, as many as 48 programs are produced, archived, and broadcast. The scientific Co-Is for the Kepler Mission, in particular, Dr. William Cochran at the University of Texas, Austin, home of MacDonald Observatory, provide subject matter expertise to the Star Date team.
StarDate Programs about Kepler Mission:
Links to Kepler related StarDate broadcasts (archive):
See also PODCAST: 7 March 2007. Dr. Janice Voss (NASA Ames Research Center): "A Scientist in Space" and "Searching for Earth-like Planets: NASA's Kepler Mission" PODCAST - The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures.
Dr. Voss, who has logged 49 days in space (traveling almost 19 million miles in 779 Earth orbits) discusses her work in space and what it's like flying on the Shuttle as a scientist. She then talks about NASA's upcoming Kepler mission, which will use a telescope in space to search for "transits" -- when a planet orbiting another star moves in front of its star and blocks its light. Although a planet might only block a tiny fraction of the light from a star, that decrease in brightness is enough to give a clear signal that the planet is there. With this mission, scientists hope to be able to find not only Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets, but also those as small as Earth. At the end, Dr. Voss answers a number of audience questions about both aspects of her work.
Impact: StarDate broadcasts, produced at McDonald Observatory, University of Texas, are well-known, short, digestible astronomy tidbits heard on more than 300 PBS and commercial radio stations around the nation. The English-language version reaches a weekly audience of 5 million and Spanish-language programs reach an audience of 3.7 million.
Evaluation for StarDate is checked by the Kepler LHS Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) team.