NASA's legendary Kepler space telescope retires after running out of fuel

NASA's legendary Kepler space telescope retires after running out of fuel

NASA's legendary Kepler space telescope retires after running out of fuel

The telescope enabled scientists to discover thousands of exoplanets and created a strong foundation for future explorations of foreign worlds. But now Kepler is passing the torch.

The Kepler telescope discovered more than 2600 of the roughly 3800 exoplanets - the term for planets outside our solar system - that have been documented in the past two decades.

Later, these planets - and those found by Kepler - can be studied by the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to look closer at the atmospheres and possibly determine their habitability.

Kepler was launched in March 2009 with enough fuel to keep it going for at least six years, according to The Verge.

In a new update, NASA reveals that the telescope has officially run out of the fuel it uses to maneuver.

In the announcement, NASA says that Kepler has been retired "within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth".

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Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries outside our solar system.

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

To "Kepler", scientists did not know how often or rare in our galaxy there are planets, thanks to him has changed the very understanding of our place in the Universe.

Many of these planets, he said, may be just warm enough that they could have liquid water on their surface, "a situation conducive to the existence of life". It began science operations in late July, as Kepler was waning, and is looking for planets orbiting 200,000 of the brightest nearby stars to Earth.

"When we started conceiving this mission 35 years ago, we didn't know of a single planet outside the Solar System", said Kepler's founding principal investigator Dr. William Borucki, now retired from NASA's Ames Research Center.

Many theories and experiments aspire to transform our view of the universe, but the Kepler mission actually did so. Kepler data suggests another 2,899 potential planets that ground-based astronomers will continue to study and determine if they are, in fact, planets. No, and in fact the opposite is true.

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The telescope laid bare the diversity of planets that reside in our Milky Way galaxy, with findings indicating that distant star systems are populated with billions of planets, and even helped pinpoint the first moon known outside our solar system.

What has the @NASAKepler space telescope achieved during its time in space? They and Kepler are old spacecraft far beyond their design lifetimes. It was an extremely clever approach to doing this kind of science. Kepler's transmitter and other instruments will be shut down in the coming days.

However, it extended well beyond its four-year mission and survived nine eventful years in the space.

Starting in 2014, this new mission was dubbed K2. "Many are still hiding in the data, ready to be discovered", said Susan Mullally, a scientist working on the Kepler mission at STScI.

We know the spacecraft's retirement isn't the end of Kepler's discoveries. "These results will form the basis for future searches for life". The first detection of a rocky exoplanet came a year later, and in December 2011 Kepler-22b was identified as the first such planet found orbiting within the habitable zone.

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