November 4, 2018 (EIRNS)-NASA announced on October 30 that after nine years of service, the Kepler spacecraft is finally out of fuel and is being decommissioned over the next several weeks. Before the mission, our knowledge of planets outside our solar system that orbit a star was woefully lacking. Kepler also found nature often produces jam-packed planetary systems, in some cases with so many planets orbiting close to their parent stars that our own inner solar system looks sparse by comparison. Kepler telescope had been running low on fuel for months.
The Kepler mission had an impressive success as Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate himself admits that it was 'wildly exceeded all our expectations.' Along with its nine years-long mission, the telescope collected a huge amount of new data that now scientist have to interpret and learn about. The spacecraft, with a 1.4-meter diameter telescope, discovered almost 3000 exoplanets and many potential candidates that are still awaiting confirmation. "Many are still hiding in the data, ready to be discovered", said Susan Mullally, a scientist working on the Kepler mission at STScI.
Kepler was originally positioned to stare at one star-studded patch of the sky in the constellation Cygnus. "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".
What Kepler found during its lifetime could be a guide not only in the continuing search for exoplanets, but the search for anything alive beyond Earth. NASA has made a decision to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth.
NASA's Kepler spacecraft has completed its primary planet-hunting and follow-up K2 missions and will be decommissioned.
"We know the spacecraft's retirement isn't the end of Kepler's discoveries", says, Kepler's project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, Jessie Dotson. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. In the years since, astronomers have used Kepler observations to discover 2,818 exoplanets as well as another 2,679 exoplanet ...
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