Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope retires after nine years exploring space

NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope retires after nine years exploring space

NASA says the telescope has "run out of fuel needed for further science operations", so it's retiring the spacecraft within its current safe orbit that's away from Earth. That kept things going for another five years, but Kepler's work is now complete.

Kepler was originally positioned to stare at one star-studded patch of the sky in the constellation Cygnus. TESS builds on Kepler's foundation with fresh batches of data in its search of planets orbiting some 200,000 of the brightest and nearest stars to the Earth, worlds that can later be explored for signs of life by missions, such as NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

This enabled an extended mission for the spacecraft, dubbed K2, which lasted as long as the first mission and bumped Kepler's count of surveyed stars up to more than 5,00,000.

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While the data collection phase for Kepler has ended, STScI's Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes will continue to make all data from the Kepler observatory available in perpetuity. However, recently NASA's Kepler team received an indication that the spacecraft's fuel tank is nearly empty.

Aside from searching for distant exoplanets, K2 allowed scientists to observe other objects and phenomena within the galaxy, including stellar clusters and supernovas. Before Kepler, we had discovered just a few hundred exoplanets, but the technology of the Kepler, allowed scientists to add more than 2,600 exoplanets to our databases.

The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes or MAST at the Space Telescope Science Institute will make the data accumulated over almost a decade of deep space observation available to the public.

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October 30 recorded 3,800 known exoplanets and Kepler was accountable for finding 2,720 of them.

NASA announced the end of Kepler's mission for nine years space telescope in space.

When the telescope was launched, it carried 12 liters of fuel for its engine, which was used to correct its drifts and control its orbit.

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NASA's Astrophysics Explorer Program has selected the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission to fly in 2017. On Tuesday, NASA was able to boost its search for the worldwide planet to know whether these planets can harbour alien life. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. The satellite was launched in April. A new paper published in Astrobiology examines ...

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