Archive for March, 2009

Kepler Mission – Editor’s Note


On the way to 24 hours after the launch of Kepler I managed to get 3 hours of sleep. Thoughts populate my head but the fatigue does not permit me to pass these into a written text.

So many entangled emotions have emerged in my mind and left it who knows where, maybe beyond Earth itself, escorting Kepler in its journey.


In the meanwhile e-mails have arrived and, as I’m reading them there are some ideas that I cannot left without being shared with BEYOND THE CRADLE readers, some words from Alan Gould reflect his feelings towards the launch and its aftermath: 

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Kepler Mission – aiming at a new earth – launch post


-45 minutes for launch

Man will not always stay on Earth; the pursuit of light and space will lead him to penetrate the bounds of the atmosphere, timidly at first, but in the end to conquer the whole of solar space.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

-30 minutes for launch

The blue distance, the mysterious Heavens, the example of birds and insects flying everywhere —are always beckoning Humanity to rise into the air.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

-15 minutes for launch

Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky


07-10 minutes for launch…


-05 minutes for launch…





All the Universe is full of the life of perfect creatures.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky


Kepler Mission – Launch in 60 minutes



With less than two hours for launch here are two snapshots of Kepler, our harvester of worlds, standing atop a Delta II rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.


…A mission for the ages….

…We’re all on pins and needles, I can tell you that…


Geoff Marcy, Kepler Co-I at NASATV

Kepler Mission – Quick note from the Cape by David Latham


I first started searching for planets around other stars in 1984.

It is amazing how far we have come in just 25 years.

Soon we will know whether there are other planets like Earth out there.


No clouds and no wind.

It looks like perfect weather for a launch.


David Latham

Harvard Smithsonian CfA




Kepler Mission – Yielding an Answer – With Jon Jenkins

jenkins_jon_3_enh11Dear Rui,


Everyone on the Project that I’ve seen over the past few days are excited but outwardly calm. Each of us has a kernel of anxiety deep within, but the opportunity to explore Kennedy Space Center and share the experience with colleagues, friends and family is truly amazing and is distracting us from the anxiety. It’s like being on the biggest roller coaster in the world, where you are rattling up to first big hill and are catching the first glimpse of the steep downward slope just beyond the crest. You haven’t started flying downward, yet, but you know it’s going to happen any moment now, and you know that your heart is going to leap into your throat, and you’re holding your breath (inwardly), waiting for the big drop. I can’t wait for it to happen, but at the same time I’m savoring the moment: Kepler is safe on the launch pad. The potential science energy can’t be any greater than it is now. I’m waiting for the spring to unwind and for Kepler to be flung out to space which is it’s true home; it’s what Kepler is destined for.

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Kepler Mission – Harvester of Worlds – By Rui Borges


btc_avatar_ruiIt is in the condition of a member of the human tribe, that I, tonight, look at the skies amazed by its vastness and mysteries.

It is in this condition, as a descendent of those who, crossing mountains and valleys, forests and seas, found themselves, in the camouflage of the night, discovering a bonfire other than theirs, a tribe other than theirs.

This singular moment, connecting us, on one side, to our ancestors, and on the other to the present day when we will witness the launch of Kepler, spreads itself to the skies, as sparkles…when Kepler rises under a pillar of flames and hope, that will be the farewell to an era, waving a goodbye to the current truth that Earth is unique.

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Kepler Mission – The Future Starts Here – With Stuart Atkinson


btc_stuTomorrow night I’ll get to bed late, I know I will, because tomorrow evening my astronomical society is holding a public observing event here in my town. As part of our celebrations of the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY we’re inviting people to join us in a local park to look at Saturn through our telescopes. Weather permitting it will be a good night, with lots of visitors letting out amazed “Ooh!”s and “aah!s as they gaze upon Saturn’s rings for the first time. All being well I’ll get to bed about midnight…


… but not before setting my alarm for Ridiculously Early o’clock, because I absolutely have to be up, and sitting here, at my computer, by 03.30, to peer at my screen through gritty, sleepy eyes and watch nothing less than the birth of a new era of astronomy – the launch of Kepler.

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