It also has a honeycombed mirror, a couple of starfinders, the 95 megapixel photometer, and a High Gain Antenna so it can call home once a week. All of this wrapped in a snazzy blue solar cape that James Brown might have envied. You could argue that the money could be better spent on earth, but the way the earth is heading, we might need extra planets some day. So Kepler's not just a pretty face; Kepler's practical.
Kepler also twitters, somewhat alarmingly, in the first person. But at least Kepler has enough sense not to talk to strangers:
In 1973, Nasa sent two Pioneer spacecrafts right out of our solar system, and had the bad judgement to affix plaques to them with directions on how to find us. As if that weren't enough, Man and Woman are depicted on the plaques. Man is a '70s white dude with an atrocious blow-dried do (with possible sideburns) and Woman is missing something: her vulva.
Carl Sagan, whose bright idea the plaque was, and his wife at the time, Linda, who contributed the drawings, omitted what he called "a very short line" (a few civilizations have fallen on the existence of that "very short line") to make sure that the plaque would escape earthly prudery and go on to miseducate the universe.
Carl Sagan was a brilliant man and an optimist. But cluing in advanced civilizations on our whereabouts, is that the best idea? Really?
The Envoys Arrive
Cross-posted at Rumproast, America's Meatiest Blog