NASA's highly successful planet hunting orbital telescope has suffered a serious equipment failure.
The Kepler telescope has been crippled by a fault in one of the reaction wheels that help to point it in the correct direction. There are fears that unless engineers can find a way to either repair or work around the fault then the mission will be over. "I wouldn’t call Kepler down and out yet," said astronaut John Grunsfeld who helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Kepler has been one of the space agency's most successful missions, providing a window through which astronomers have identified a significant number of planets around distant star systems including two Earth-like worlds. If the telescope is indeed lost then it represents a substantial blow to the field for astronomers all over the world.
"NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has been shut down by the failure of one of the reaction wheels that keep it pointed, the space agency announced Wednesday."
View: Full article
Source: New York Times
Discuss: View comments (18)