NASA tries to save planet-hunting telescope

(AP)—NASA says it will try to fix its space telescope that hunts for planets outside our solar system.

Recovery efforts to save the $600 million mission began Thursday and will last for a week. Mission managers won't know until later this month at the earliest whether the Kepler spacecraft will ever search for Earth-like planets again.

Two months ago, Kepler lost the second of four wheels that control its position in space. It needs three working wheels, and engineers plan to send commands to try to get the broken wheels spinning again.

Since launching in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 134 planets and spotted more than 3,200 potential ones. If Kepler can't be revived, scientists have said they still have years of observations to pore through.


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Kepler spacecraft's planet-hunting days may be numbered (Update)

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Citation: NASA tries to save planet-hunting telescope (2013, July 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-nasa-planet-hunting-telescope.html
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Jul 19, 2013
"NASA says it will try to fix its space telescope that hunts for planets outside our solar system"

They should really try to fix it inside our solar system.

Jul 19, 2013
Why? Everybody knows the cheapest contractors are the Centaurians.

Jul 19, 2013
The Centaurians are the cheapest but since they don't have prehensile hooves their service usually consists of kicking things and hoping that they start working again.

Leprechauns on the other hand do very good work, and supply their own miniature tools.

Jul 24, 2013
service usually consists of kicking things


That might be all Kepler needs, ironically.

Kepler failing like this is a big disapointment, just when it was getting to the point where the smaller planets like earth might have been spotted. We learned a ton from it already, but it feels like we probably missed out on the best part.

On the positive side, this may actually speed up the time table on the next gen planet hunter, which should have even better hardware.

Jul 24, 2013
Kepler II would be better than extending Kepler 1

Looking at a different cluster would provide different statistics from a different area of the galaxy.


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