Kepler team restarts powered-down photometer
During a scheduled contact with NASA's Kepler space telescope on Thursday, July 28, the team found the photometer—the camera onboard the spacecraft—powered off. The photometer was turned on again and the flight system returned to autonomous science operations on Monday, Aug. 1. They will confirm that science operations have been resumed within a week. The team is currently investigating the cause; the spacecraft is otherwise operating normally.
The Kepler spacecraft is currently in the tenth observing campaign of its second mission, called K2. Kepler's primary mission ended in 2013 but more exoplanet and astrophysics observations continue with the K2 mission, which began in 2014. To-date, the K2 mission has identified more than 450 new planet candidates, of which 128 have been verified as bona fide planets.
In June, NASA Headquarters announced that the K2 mission is to continue science operations through the end of the FY19, by which time the on-board fuel is expected to be fully depleted.