Goodbye, Kepler Space Telescope

  • Goodbye, Kepler Space Telescope

Goodbye, Kepler Space Telescope

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has run out of fuel and will be retired, following a nine-and-a-half-year mission in search of planets that might harbour life beyond our solar system. The US space agency said this brings an end to a prolific nine-and-a-half year mission in which it discovered over 2,600 intriguing exoplanets, some of which may harbour life.

95MP camera Thomas Zurbuchen from NASA's Science Mission Directorate said in an administration release that Kepler had "wildly exceeded" expectations, and paved the way for the future search for extra-terrestrial life.

Kepler discovered 2,681 planets outside our solar system and even more potential candidates. This solution did not restore full functionality-Kepler could subsequently only aim itself for around 83 days at a time-but it did make it possible to start another phase of operations.

To "Kepler", scientists did not know how often or rare in our galaxy there are planets, thanks to him has changed the very understanding of our place in the Universe.

In April, a spacecraft successor to Kepler ― NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS ― was launched.

However, a solution was found and in 2014 the "K2" element of the mission began, using solar pressure to help stabilize the pointing direction and observe new patches of the night sky.

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.

There is so much data that scientists are expecting to spend a decade in search of treasure in the trove that Kepler has provided.

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. Originally only created to operate for around three and a half years, the spacecraft ultimately spent over nine and a half years in operation.

NASA Astrophysics Division Director Paul Hertz made the announcement during a teleconference today that included Bill Borucki, Kepler's principal investigator.

Many theories and experiments aspire to transform our view of the universe, but the Kepler mission actually did so.

Kepler was launched in 2009 with a mission of discovering worlds outside our own solar system, also known as exoplanets.

After over-working, the Kepler Space Telescope is finally taking its final nap. The first detection of a rocky exoplanet came a year later, and in December 2011 Kepler-22b was identified as the first such planet found orbiting within the habitable zone. This light would allow astronomers to take the spectrum of a planet and look for signs of habitability - and life.

"While this may be a sad event, we are by no means unhappy with the performance of this marvelous machine", Charlie Sobeck, project system engineer at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, told reporters on a conference call.