Fun Science Fact #50 - Kepler has been busy!

May 10, 2016, 2:43 p.m.

According to today's NASA Press Release, the Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of planets to date. This more than doubles the amount of alien worlds it has found to date.

Taking part in the announcement were:

- Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington
- Timothy Morton, associate research scholar at Princeton University in New Jersey
- Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California
- Charlie Sobeck, Kepler/K2 mission manager at Ames

Of course, more research will be needed to determine how many of these are Earth-like planets much less if any of them are habitable by humans, but considering that just a few years ago the idea of other planets orbiting the billions of stars in our galaxy was considered the realm of science fiction. This was merely two decades ago and now we're finding planetary candidates by the thousands (and whittling them down to confirmed planetary bodies).

This is an enormous discovery for our species!

The research paper these findings are based on as published by The Astrophysical Journal on May 10, 2016: False Positive Probabilities For All Kepler Objects Of Interest: 1284 Newly Validated Planets And 428 Likely False Positives (Morton et al, 2016).

Mourning a terrible loss

April 17, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

This is truly a sad day for Starfleet International. Wayne was not only one of our own here in the Third Fleet (which encompasses all of Texas and Louisiana) but he was truly a fan of what we stand for. He loved this organization with every single fiber of his being, and he will be truly missed.

I've attached the following posting from Adm. Robert Westfall, now acting Commander Starfleet:



It is with the saddest of hearts that I must announce that Fleet Admiral Wayne Killough died late Saturday night due to complications from a recent out-patient surgery.

Wayne served STARFLEET with honor and dedication in every position he held, including its highest offices. Like all of us, he had his flaws, but when it came to STARFLEET he always did what he thought was in the best interests of the Fleet, and his passing is a great loss to every member of this organization.

Regardless of what you thought of Wayne, STARFLEET has always prided itself on being a family and Wayne truly believed this. So I ask all of you to join the rest of Wayne's family in mourning the man who left a mark on not just this organization but all of us.

I have proposed to the ECAB that STARFLEET suspend all non-essential operations until Wednesday, 20 April 2016, and ask that all members join us in this period of mourning for our organization and family.

In Service,

Admiral Robert Westfall
Acting Commander, STAFLEET



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