Research

NASA Retires Kepler Space Telescope, Passes Planet-Hunting Torch

Share
NASA  Ames  Wendy Stenzel

"Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars", he added.

October 30 recorded 3,800 known exoplanets and Kepler was accountable for finding 2,720 of them. Till now Kepler has discovered 2,600 planets outside the solar system.

According to NASA, that means they are located at distances from their stars where liquid water, a vital ingredient for life as we know it, could accumulate on the surface of the planet. Astronomers may also have utilized Kepler's exoplanet heave to foretell that everybody out of the hundred and billions of stars in the Milky Way should possess at least one planet, generally.

Four years into the mission, after the primary mission objectives had been met, some mechanical failures temporarily halted observations. However, the spacecraft was repurposed and saved by changing its field of view periodically. These data will enable new scientific discoveries for years to come.

Aside from searching for distant exoplanets, K2 allowed scientists to observe other objects and phenomena within the galaxy, including stellar clusters and supernovas.

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. Herz noted that scientific work is a space Observatory is complete. However, all of Kepler's data has been and will continue to be publicly available at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) where it will continue to improve our understanding of the universe.

"We know the spacecraft's retirement isn't the end of Kepler's discoveries", said Jessie Dotson, Kepler's project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.

Kepler was replaced by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched in April.

These data are an inheritance of all humanity that will outlast the Kepler mission's brief life for time without limit. TESS will follow in the footsteps of NASA's pioneering Kepler Mission, continuing the groundbreaking ... Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation in Boulder, Colorado, operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Share