Planet-hunting Kepler space telescope to be retired

В NASA решили остановить миссию телескопа Kepler

The Kepler space telescope's end has finally come

TESS builds on Kepler's foundation with fresh batches of data in its search of planets orbiting some 200,000 of the brightest and nearest stars to the Earth, worlds that can later be explored for signs of life by missions such as Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope.

Mr Borucki described his favourite exoplanet, named Kepler 22B, which was first spotted by the telescope in 2009 and is located more than 600 light years from Earth. After completing its initial mission, NASA tasked Kepler with its extended K2 mission, which resulted in the spacecraft having surveyed more than half a million stars.

NASA scientists are expected to spend the next decade trawling through data provided by Kepler in search of new discoveries.

Every bit of scientific data collected by Kepler was transmitted to scientists on Earth, and exciting discoveries based on the last bits of data are yet to come, NASA said. Read the original article. Though the solution did not restore full functionality that's why Kepler could only aim itself for around 83 days at a time but made another phase of operations possible.

In May 2013 the telescope's reaction wheels failed, meaning it struggled to maintain orientation, but by 2014 scientists had found a way to direct Kepler again.

Mission planners reworked Kepler's mode of operation to point at other parts of the sky, expanding its list of targets to 500,000 stars. The Kepler Space Telescope gave us mere earthlings an incredable view of the universe we reside in, with images of planetary systems thousands of light years agway.

"Kepler kind of just cracked that out of being the typical expectation", Boyd said during the news conference.

During its nine-year mission, Kepler found more than 2,600 planets orbiting stars outside the solar system -including many with the potential for harboring life.

"It was like trying to find a flea crawling across a headlight when the vehicle was 100 miles away", Borucki said.

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. "This time they were satisfied that this mission would be successful and gave us the go ahead to develop the Kepler spacecraft". Sobeck said the extra five years of operation cost roughly $10 million a year - which is a bargain by space probe standards. It showed us rocky worlds the size of Earth that, like Earth, might harbour life.

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

In total Kepler has discovered about 70 percent of the 3,800 confirmed exoplanets known to humanity.

The latest data, from Campaign 19, will complement the data from Nasa's newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in April. The planet, called Kepler-16b, is the most "Tatooine-like" planet yet found in our galaxy and is depicted here in this artist's concept with its two stars.

Launched atop a Delta 2 rocket on March 14, 2009, Kepler was boosted into an orbit around the sun, trailing the Earth and aiming its 95-megapixel camera at a patch of sky the size of an out-stretched hand near the constellation Cygnus that contains more than 4.5 million detectable stars. By closely analyzing how much the host star's brightness dropped and for how long, researchers can tease out characteristics of the planet such as size and orbital distance.

"Because of Kepler, what we think about our place in the universe has changed", Hertz said.

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