NASA's planet hunting Kepler space telescope retires

Ismael LynchNov 02, 2018

The Kepler space telescope that found thousands of planets beyond our solar system and boosted the search for worlds that might support life has run out of fuel, NASA said.

The US space agency's Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel and is being retired after nine and a half years, having helped discover more than 2,600 planets, some of which may hold life, officials said Tuesday. Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars.

"Around every star in the galaxy, we're confident now that there's probably at least one planet - so more planets than stars without a doubt and that's something that Kepler has shown us", he said. But Kepler's overall planet census showed that 20 to 50 per cent of the stars visible in the night sky could have planets like ours in the habitable zone for life, he said. A new planet-hunter, named TESS, was launched in April and Kepler has been left drifting around the Sun more than a hundred-and-fifty-million kilometres from Earth. Take, for example, Kepler-22b, which he calls one of the most interesting planets in the batch. The agency said it's made a decision to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth.

Of that total, the science team picked some 300,000 that were the right age, composition and brightness to host Earth-like planets.

The nine-year planet-hunting mission discovered 2,899 exoplanet candidates and 2,681 confirmed exoplanets in our galaxy, revealing that our solar system isn't the only home for planets. We've also found planets that were formed at the beginning of the formation of our galaxy six-and-a-half billion years before the formation of our own star and before the formation of the Earth.

Jessie Dotson, Kepler project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, said, "I guess I feel like it was the little spacecraft that could".

There was a lot of malfunction that happened with steering and dwindling hydrazine fuel levels costing $600 million spacecraft which stayed in action nearly for nine years and with 19 observation campaigns which are longer than its original four-year mission.

Kepler found over two-third of the roughly 3,800 exoplanets that have been documented in the past two decades.

The end came just a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Kepler's 2009 launch.

Kepler has studied more than 500,000 stars in this way.

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.

While Kepler was focusing on looking for planets around sun-like stars, TESS will advance its legacy by looking at smaller stars to find Earth-sized worlds out there in the universe.

Previously, experts from NASA, which spetsializiruyutsya on the possible existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, said that aliens may be very different in appearance from the representations of the person. Among its chief insights: that planets far outnumber stars.

"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", Dotson said.

Planetary exploration is going through a wider-ranging changing of the guard: For example, NASA's Dawn mission to the dwarf planet Ceres is ending, due to the same empty-tank issue that Kepler faced.

Related Articles:

« Previous article
Next article »

Popular Pages

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveals all its remaining fighters
What's more is that Piranha Plant's special attacks include the ability to spit poison and fire off spiky balls as well. Ultimate , just short of actually throwing a character (or better yet, a deejay llama) into the game.

Westbrook, Beverley get heated again as Thunder roll
You got little kids on you, that's what happens. 'You got to put them to sleep. "Yeah, you got little kids, " Westbrook said. Westbrook was in good spirits after the game and took time to knock Beverley and explain his "rock-the-baby" gesture.

Novak Djokovic to regain world No 1 spot after two-years
Dimitrov had 13 aces in a 7-6 (10), 6-4 win against Roberto Bautista Agut and Nishikori beat Adrian Mannarino of France 7-5, 6-4. Isner and Nishikori are competing with No. 5 Marin Cilic and No. 6 Dominic Thiem for the last two spots for the ATP finals.

USA raises concern over Turkish air strikes on Kurdish fighters in Syria
The US, trying to maintain ties with both its Kurdish and Turkish allies, developed a road map for Manbij with Ankara. After Mabij, Turkey's "point of work, field" would be the region east of the Euphrates, he said .

Reese’s vending machine swaps lame candy for Peanut Butter Cups
If what you actually want this Halloween is to stuff yourself with handfuls of peanut butter cups, Reese's has you covered. As such, the day before Halloween , October 30th is now being observed as an official holiday: National Candy Corn Day.

LeBron James describes Lakers’ repeated mistakes as ‘insanity’
James is ninth in the National Basketball Association in scoring, averaging 27.6 points per game, 9.1 rebounds and 8.3 assists. It's been a tough start to LeBron James' career in the Western Conference as he gets used to his new surroundings.

UK will introduce a digital services tax, Hammond says
Hammond added that the tax will be "carefully designed" to ensure it targets established tech giants - rather than tech start-ups. On a narrow definition, Mr Hammond's package could be seen as an "end to austerity, said Mr Johnson".

Trump plans 'tent cities' at US-Mexico border
The official said the deployment is being done to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. His experience with the caravan had taught him one thing, he said: "The next time, I'm going to need a 'coyote, '" or smuggler.

Top three performances against Penn State
Just a table for him to sit on while his right knee was being checked out in the second quarter of Penn State's game against Iowa. Ihmir Smith-Marsette had 103 kick-return yards on 3 returns, including a 49-yarder to set Iowa up with excellent field position.

China permits limited trade of rhino, tiger goods
The public should be guided to stay away from illegally purchasing such products and transporting them from overseas . Conservationists say the legalisation of medicinal use of tiger bone and rhino horns will help poachers thrive.