Education and public outreach programs

Bringing the science and the excitement of space missions to students and the general public is a major goal of all NASA efforts. To further this goal, the Kepler mission includes two institutions that produce high quality educational materials and have high impact in education on a national level: the Lawrence Hall of Science (University of California) and the SETI Institute. Formal education contributions will include Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) teacher guides in math and science for grades K through 8, Full Option Science System (FOSS) teacher workshops for middle schools, and the addition of a Kepler-science module in the Hands-On Universe high school curriculum. For informal science education, Kepler has developed an orrery demonstrating the detection-by-transit method. This "hands on" device is now part of a traveling museum exhibit sponsored by the Space Science Institute (SSI). The informal education program is also developing programs explaining planet finding for small and medium-size planetariums serving both school and public audiences. Kepler will fund the creation of public radio broadcasts through Stardate and a video program suitable for public broadcast. To enhance participation by the public, predictions of the large-amplitude transits by giant planets will be distributed via the Kepler website (http://Kepler.NASA.gov), so that amateur astronomers and institutions with CCD-equipped facilities can observe planetary transits. To increase the use of CCD technology, several CCD cameras will be supplied to minority colleges that already have telescopes. Training and support will be provided to the college faculty in photometric observing techniques and data analysis methods required for high precision photometry in discovery and observation of planetary transits.

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