Ames, Iowa -- The massive amounts of quality data being returned by NASA's Kepler Mission space telescope is making it a "discovery machine," U.S. astronomers say.
Launched in March 2009, Kepler is orbiting the sun measuring the minute changes in the brightness of thousand of stars in an effort to find Earth-like planets possibly capable of supporting life.
The quantity and quality of the information Kepler is gathering is almost overwhelming, researchers say.
"It's really amazing," Steve Kawaler, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy, says. "It's as amazing as I feared. I didn't appreciate how hard it is to digest all the information efficiently."
Kepler "is a discovery machine," Kawaler says.