a1 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
a2 University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA
a3 San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, 95192, USA
a4 Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope, Golenta, CA 93117, USA
a5 SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA, 94043, USA
a6 University of Aarhus, Denmark
a7 University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA
a8 Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001, USA
a9 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, 91109, USA
a10 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
a11 Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA
a12 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 20771, USA
a13 United States Naval Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ, 86002, USA
The Kepler Mission is a space-based mission whose primary goal is to detect Earth-size and smaller planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars. The mission will monitor more than 100,000 stars for transits with a differential photometric precision of 20 ppm at V=12 for a 6.5 hour transit. It will also provide asteroseismic results on several thousand dwarf stars. It is specifically designed to continuously observe a single field of view of greater than 100 square degrees for 3.5 or more years.
This overview describes the mission design, its goals and capabilities, the measured performance for those photometer components that have now been tested, the Kepler Input Catalog, an overview of the analysis pipeline, the plans for the Follow-up Observing Program to validate the detections and characterize the parent stars, and finally, the plans for the Guest Observer and Astrophysical Data Program.