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Marlowe St.Cloud Primack
Kepler Blog Reporter
NASA Ames Research Center

I am an intern at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. My passion for astronomy emerged at an early age yet my fear of math kept me from my life-long dream of studying science formally. As a returning student I was determined to overcome this fear of math and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could prevail. I am now on my way to learning this language. Many people along the way have told me that it’s never too late, and they were right! I will pursue a degree in planetary science.

I have been inspired by Carl Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist and author, who played a pivotal role in my education through his books and captivating television series, Cosmos. He so generously and eloquently explained astronomy in a way that the general public could grasp with ease. And of course I was influenced by our family ritual knows as Star Trek and stew! I honed in on planetary science because I was so moved by the exoplanet discoveries made by astronomer and planet-hunter Dr. Geoff Marcy and his team. These awe-inspiring discoveries were announced in the mid-nineties; amazingly, all were made using ground-based telescopes. In 2008 I heard about the impending launch of the Kepler photometer, the first satellite capable of detecting earth-sized planets. Needless to say, I was hooked!

Not long after arriving at Ames to work on a different project, I had the good fortune of being introduced to Charlie Sobeck, deputy project manager for Kepler. My enthusiasm and curiosity was quite clear when we met. Later, he gave me the opportunity to get involved. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from this deep pool of accomplished scientists and engineers.

I will share with you an inside view of the Kepler mission from the science office home base. This is a very unique and exciting mission searching for the answer to one of the oldest questions known to human kind, are we alone in the universe? Or, are we truly unique? It’s a question that humans will seek to answer as long as we exist. I invite you to stay tuned!