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NASA's Kepler telescope is officially dead


Posted on Wednesday, 31 October, 2018 | Comment icon 15 comments

The Kepler mission was a tremendous success. Image Credit: NASA Ames / W Stenzel
The ground-breaking space telescope that discovered more than 2,600 exoplanets has finally run out of fuel.
Named after astronomer Johannes Kepler, the spacecraft launched back in March 2009 with the goal of discovering potentially habitable Earth-sized worlds around distant stars.

Over the course of its nine years in operation it passed everyone's expectations - discovering literally thousands of planets and revolutionising our understanding of extrasolar worlds.

In total it observed 530,506 stars and detected 2,662 planets.

The spacecraft had been operational until relatively recently but started to deteriorate rapidly at the beginning of this month as the effects of its depleting fuel supply became ever more apparent.

Kepler was officially retired yesterday, just a few months before its 10th anniversary.

"As NASA's first planet-hunting mission, Kepler has wildly exceeded all our expectations and paved the way for our exploration and search for life in the solar system and beyond," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

"Not only did it show us how many planets could be out there, it sparked an entirely new and robust field of research that has taken the science community by storm."

"Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars."



Source: NASA.gov | Comments (15)

Tags: Kepler, NASA

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by toast on 1 November, 2018, 6:55
For what reasons do you think should an object that's in a safe orbit around the Sun and 94M miles away from Earth, sent back to Earth and endanger other Earth orbiting, artificial objects during approach and reentry? Why should NASA waste fuel for such a stupid stunt and reduce the time of operation of Kepler`s key mission? Do you know the exact meaning of the term "space debris/junk"? Curious.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Habitat on 1 November, 2018, 6:59
Where is it ? 
Comment icon #8 Posted by toast on 1 November, 2018, 7:02
 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Habitat on 1 November, 2018, 7:13
Yeah, I saw that, so beyond the orbit of Mars ? Why was it sent that far away ?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Echoes on 1 November, 2018, 7:46
It's sad to see such a brilliant achievement simply cease to amaze.
Comment icon #11 Posted by toast on 1 November, 2018, 7:51
Sun-Mercury-Venus-Earth/Kepler-Mars. Look:  
Comment icon #12 Posted by kartikg on 1 November, 2018, 9:24
Hope many more such are launched, since Kepler the ccd technology has developed a lot more and if launched today it should be able to detect more planets. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by qxcontinuum on 2 November, 2018, 2:14
I had no idea actually. I thought it was in Earth's orbit. 
Comment icon #14 Posted by Habitat on 2 November, 2018, 2:44
Is/was  this the only platform available for spying exoplanets ?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 2 November, 2018, 6:25
No. There was a French satellite called CoRot which operated between 2006 and 2013. In April NASA launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). ESA will soon launch the CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS). Also ground based telescopes are used in discovering and researching exoplanets, most notably the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP).


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