NASA's Kepler Telescope almost out of fuel, forced to nap

July 9, 2018 by Marcia Dunn
NASA's Kepler Telescope almost out of fuel, forced to nap
This undated artist's concept provided by NASA shows the Kepler spacecraft. NASA's Kepler Space Telescope is almost out of fuel and has been forced to take a nap. Flight controllers recently placed the planet-hunting spacecraft into hibernation to save energy. It will remain asleep until early August, when controllers attempt to send down the data collected before observations were interrupted. Launched in 2009, Kepler has been searching for planets outside our solar system for nearly a decade. (NASA via AP)

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope is almost out of fuel and has been forced to take a nap.

Flight controllers placed the planet-hunting spacecraft into hibernation last week to save energy. It will remain asleep until early August, when controllers attempt to send down the data collected before observations were interrupted.

Kepler has been searching for planets outside our solar system for nearly a decade. Considered the pioneer of planet hunting, it's discovered nearly 3,000 confirmed worlds and as many potential candidates.

Launched in 2009, Kepler has endured mechanical failures and other mishaps. But there's no getting around an empty . The fuel is needed for pointing the telescope.

Kepler's antenna must be pointed toward Earth to get the most recent observations back. For now, that's the team's highest priority.

Explore further: NASA's Kepler spacecraft pauses science observations to download science data

Related Stories

NASA cries planetary 'bonanza' with 715 new worlds

February 26, 2014

NASA on Wednesday announced a torrent of new planet discoveries, hailing a "bonanza" of 715 worlds now known outside the solar system thanks to the Kepler space telescope's planet-hunting mission.

Recommended for you

Where to search for signs of life on Titan

July 20, 2018

New findings, published in the journal Astrobiology, suggest that large craters are the prime locations in which to find the building blocks of life on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Did a rogue star change the makeup of our solar system?

July 20, 2018

A team of researchers from the Max-Planck Institute and Queen's University has used new information to test a theory that suggests a rogue star passed close enough to our solar system millions of years ago to change its configuration. ...

Traveling to the sun: Why won't Parker Solar Probe melt?

July 19, 2018

This summer, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will launch to travel closer to the Sun, deeper into the solar atmosphere, than any mission before it. If Earth was at one end of a yard-stick and the Sun on the other, Parker Solar ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.