The Kepler wake-up whipsaw continues.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope, that has detected some-more than 2,650 visitor planets to date, emerged from nonetheless another doze Thursday (Oct. 11), group officials said.
Kepler has been regulating really low on fuel for a while now. So, goal group members have put a booster to sleep multiple times over a past few months in an bid to safeguard there’s adequate diesel left for Kepler to asian toward Earth and lamp a latest batches of information home. [Gallery: A World of Kepler Planets]
Such relays are usually probable during certain windows. The Kepler group relies on NASA’s Deep Space Network to locate a incoming information and contingency share this complement of large radio dishes with other group missions.
The $600 million Kepler goal launched in Mar 2009. Initially, a booster stared during some-more than 150,000 stars simultaneously, examination for little liughtness dips that could prove a thoroughfare of orbiting planets opposite these stars’ faces.
In May 2013, a second of Kepler’s 4 orientation-maintaining greeting wheels failed, bringing an finish to a observatory’s strange mission. But Kepler’s handlers figured out a approach to stabilise a booster regulating a remaining wheels and object pressure, and Kepler shortly embarked on an extended goal called K2.
During K2, Kepler has been sport for exoplanets and watching a accumulation of other objects and phenomena, over a march of changeable 80-day campaigns. Kepler began entertainment information for a latest one, Campaign 19, on Aug. 29. But a goal group put a look-out to nap reduction than a month after after seeing that Kepler’s indicating ability had degraded.
“We are still monitoring a health of a booster while operative towards downloading information from Campaign 19,” NASA officials wrote in an update today (Oct. 12).
Refueling Kepler is not an option. The look-out — which is obliged for about 70 percent of all exoplanet discoveries to date — orbits a object and is millions of miles from Earth.
Mike Wall’s book about a hunt for visitor life, “Out There,” will be published on Nov. 13 by Grand Central Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook. Originally published on Space.com.