Progress Toward Reliable Planet Occurrence Rates with Kepler Natalie Batalha (NASA Ames Research Center,

Abstract: The Kepler Mission is exploring the diversity of planets and planetary systems. Its legacy will be a catalog of discoveries sufficient for computing the occurrence rates of planets within 1AU. The mission has gone a long way toward achieving that goal. In the last year, the number of planet discoveries has increased by 50%, and the number of small planet candidates in the habitable zone has nearly doubled. Statistical analyses suggest that planets abound in the galaxy (with each main sequence star having at least one) and that small planets form efficiently. I will describe the ingredients necessary for determining the occurence rates of planets and report on the progress Kepler has made toward a reliable determination of eta- Earth. This singular number is arguably Kepler's most important contribution to the future of NASA's exoplanet exploration and the search for life beyond Earth.