Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Kepler space telescope silent

Kepler space telescope silent

"We know the spacecraft's retirement isn't the end of Kepler's discoveries", said Kepler project scientist Dr. Jessie Dotson, of NASA's Ames Research Center.

Artist's concept of NASA's 1st space-based exoplanet hunter, the Kepler space telescope.

TESS will use a technique to find planets that's similar to Kepler's approach, yet it will be an eminently more powerful mission.

Kepler's scientific contributions - and Earth-trailing solar orbit - ensure it will always have a place in the sun. The engineers essentially rebooted the mission, devising a way to allow Kepler to survey new parts of the sky every few months.

NASA said it has chose to retire the spacecraft "within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth".

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.

The resurrected mission became known as K2 and yielded 350 confirmed exoplanets, or planets orbiting other stars, on top of what the telescope had already uncovered since its March 7, 2009, launch from Cape Canaveral.

The final commands have been sent, and the spacecraft will remain a safe distance from Earth to avoid colliding with our planet.

"When we started conceiving this mission 35 years ago, we didn't know of a single planet outside our solar system", said the Kepler mission's founding principal investigator, William Borucki, now retired.

Ariana Grande feels guilty about her anxiety
NBC (available live in select markets, which you can find here ) is included in the "Sling Blue" channel package. To celebrate " Wicked's " 15th anniversary on Broadway, NBC will throw a joyous Halloween party for the ages.

According to Borucki, Kepler has set a new course for future generations to explore our Milky Way galaxy.

Scientists are expected to spend at least another decade searching for more discoveries buried in the pile of photometric data that Kepler has captured.

Four years into the mission, after the primary mission objectives had been met, some mechanical failures temporarily halted observations.

Kepler was succeeded by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which NASA launched in April.

Kepler searched for alien worlds by looking out for their transits, which are dips in the brightness of stars that could indicate orbiting planets.

"One of the eight thrusters had shown unreliable performance, but the team estimated that simply removing the thruster from use during precision pointing firings could result in acceptable system performance", Alison Hawkes, a NASA Ames Research Center spokesperson, told SpaceNews last month.

By NASA Ames/ W Stenzel [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsNASA officially bid farewell to the Kepler space telescope on October 30 after it ran out of fuel. At first, scientists didn't discover many exoplanets, but in just a short time, Kepler discovered thousands of exoplanets. Once the fix was made, NASA approved a new mission for the spacecraft, dubbed K2.

Kepler's data also provided a new way to assess whether a planet had a solid surface, like Earth and Mars, or is gaseous, like Jupiter and Saturn.

The far more advanced James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to lift off in 2021, should be able to reveal more about planets' mass, density and the makeup of their atmosphere - all clues to habitability.

Like this: