Spacewatch: Nasa retires planet hunter after it runs out of fuel

Spacewatch: Nasa retires planet hunter after it runs out of fuel

Spacewatch: Nasa retires planet hunter after it runs out of fuel

This artist's concept depicts a planetary system. The unmanned space telescope, which launched in 2009, revealed that billions of hidden planets are in space and revolutionized humanity's understanding of the universe, experts said.

Originally positioned to stare continuously at 1,50,000 stars in one star-studded patch of the sky in the constellation Cygnus, Kepler took the first survey of planets in our galaxy and became Nasa's first mission to detect Earth-size planets in the habitable zones of their stars. On October 30, 2018 NASA announced that Kepler had run out of fuel and would be decommissioned. "It was not a surprise and means the end of the operation of the spacecraft and gathering science data", said Herz, reports RIA Novosti.

With the data collected by Kepler during its nine-year lifespan allowed scientists to visualize a more complete picture of worlds beyond our own.

Unlike Cassini, whose kamikaze plunge into Saturn was its final, fiery farewell to the universe, Kepler will get a decommissioning command beamed to it from the NASA team on Earth.

The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes or MAST at the Space Telescope Science Institute will make the data accumulated over almost a decade of deep space observation available to the public.

Numerous planets Kepler found around these stars are potentially habitable, yet have years that last only a few days. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 exoplanet discoveries.

This enabled an extended mission for the spacecraft, dubbed K2, which lasted as long as the first mission and bumped Kepler's count of surveyed stars up to more than 5,00,000.

One such planet, Kepler-186f, is very much like Earth.

"I'm excited about the diverse discoveries that are yet to come from our data and how future missions will build upon Kepler's results".

This illustration depicts NASA's exoplanet hunter, the Kepler space telescope. Till now Kepler has discovered 2,600 planets outside the solar system.

All these and more will continue to be available to the public via MAST. In addition to the mission data, the archive hosts community-provided data products that provide improved data analysis necessary for certain astrophysical studies or improved measurements of the stars observed by Kepler. Kepler's more advanced successor is the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in April. TESS has just begun its survey of nearly the entire night sky, looking for exoplanets orbiting some of the brightest and closest stars.

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