After finding thousands of planets, NASA’s Kepler mission ends

Share
After finding thousands of planets, NASA’s Kepler mission ends

Kepler, Nasa's vaunted planet-hunting space telescope, has run out of manoeuvring fuel and is being retired, the space agency announced on Tuesday.

Nasa's new space observatory, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or Tess, has already taken up the search for planets in the nearby cosmos, and giant telescopes both on the ground and in space are being created to detect and observe exoplanets - planets that circle stars outside our solar system.

The space telescope has been in space for nine years and found more than 2.6 thousand planets.

Watch to find out about its incredible journey.

Four years into the mission, after the primary mission objectives had been met, some mechanical failures temporarily halted observations. "It was an extremely clever approach to doing this kind of science", said Leslie Livesay, director for astronomy and physics at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who served as Kepler project manager during mission development.

The space telescope was nearly lost in 2013 when Kepler had a failure, but engineers found a way to fix it and help the mission carry on until this month. Originally only created to operate for around three and a half years, the spacecraft ultimately spent over nine and a half years in operation. This second phase of Kepler's science program was called the K2 mission. They and Kepler are old spacecraft far beyond their design lifetimes. Thanks in part to its groundbreaking camera, Kepler was able to broaden that search and locate smaller, rockier planets much more similar to Earth.

Borucki, who dreamed up the mission decades ago, said one of his favorite discoveries was Kepler 22b, a water planet bigger than Earth but in an area where it is not too warm and not too cold - the type "that could lead to life".

Before retiring the spacecraft, scientists pushed Kepler to its full potential, successfully completing multiple observation campaigns and downloading valuable science data even after initial warnings of low fuel.

And those discoveries have helped shape future missions. TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, launched in April and is the newest planet hunter for NASA.

Kepler's retirement marks just the beginning of a quest to end humankind's cosmic loneliness.

Now that it has no fuel, the telescope can't correct its very specific orbit, so it is drifting farther and farther from our planet. And in 2017 "Kepler" found "assosolare system" of the eight planets just like ours (after Pluto was demoted and transferred to the category of dwarf planets).

"While this may be a sad event, we are by no means unhappy with the performance of this marvellous machine", NASA project system engineer Charlie Sobeck said. Recently, the MAST archive team won a NASA Group award for their work in hosting the Kepler data sets.

When launched, it was expected to last only six years, but it managed to outlive its designed lifespan by three years.

The Kepler space telescope launched from Earth on March 6, 2009. "I'm excited about the diverse discoveries that are yet to come from our data and how future missions will build upon Kepler's results".

Share

Advertisement

Related Posts

Woman fought with driver, causing bus to fall in China river
Police say a brawl between a passenger and a bus driver was the cause of the bus plunging off a bridge in southwestern China . A video retrieved from the black box of the bus shows a passenger scuffling with the driver just moments before the crash.

No Iris Scanner for Galaxy S10 next year: Rumours
Even though the official announcement is still a way off, we already have a good idea what to expect in the S10. Samsung hasn't confirmed this yet, although previous leaks from June have also suggested a notch-less design.

UK, EU close to Brexit deal on financial services
The Home Secretary told ITV there would be a "sensible transition period" to allow time for a new immigration system. The pound jumped yesterday, ending the day at $1.30, an increase of more than 0.4 cents or 1.8 per cent, the...

Sony staff evacuated after two stabbed in London headquarters
The Metropolitan Police said two people suffered stab injuries, but they are not believed to be in life-threatening conditions. A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We were called at 11:01 today to Derry Street, W8, to reports of an incident".

A Terrified James Corden Lets Barbra Streisand Drive During ‘Carpool Karaoke’
Streisand also opened up about the time she spoke to Apple's Tim Cook about getting the pronunciation of her name changed on Siri. The vehicle was on a tow, so she didn't drive.

Ariana Grande Will Play the Fiserv Forum in April
Her engagement with " Saturday Night Live's " Pete Davidson was called off for undisclosed reasons. It's been a fun journey, and I can't believe it's been 15 years".

Zero Trailer: SRK is Out There to Marry a Suitable Girl..
But now he wanted to "wholeheartedly" dedicate it to the ace actor since his next film is also " Zero ". After six years, SRK, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma will be seen together on the big screen.

Oversupply Concerns Weighing on Prices, US-China Deal is Wildcard
U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 3.2 mln bbl in the week ended Oct 26, the Energy Information Administration said in its report. Brent crude LCOc1 futures dropped $1.76 to $75.58 a barrel, a 2.3 percent decline, by 1:15 p.m.

Ah, We Now Know Why Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Broke Up
The 25-year-old singer sent a cryptic tweet, writing: "for somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh". Both Grande and Davidson met on SNL , and they were often criticized for their fast engagement, which lasted five months.

Starbucks leans into Christmas and unveils four new holiday cups
Treat-wise, Starbucks has launched a pair of new food items in the chocolate swirl brioche and the pistachio honey croissant . Starbucks is giving customers an extra dose of holiday cheer, the coffee chain debuting not one, but four holiday cups.

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.