Cape canaveral, Florida. —
NASA's elite planet
The hunting ship has been declared dead, only a few months from the tenth anniversary.
On Tuesday, officials announced the demise of the Kepler space telescope.
Has far exceeded the expected life span, 1/2-year-
Old Kepler has been running out of fuel for months.
In early October, its ability to point to distant stars and identify possible alien worlds deteriorated dramatically, but flight controllers still managed to restore its latest observations.
The telescope is now silent and the tank is empty.
"Kepler opens the door for humanity to explore the universe," said William Boruki, a retired NASA scientist who led the Kepler science team.
Kepler found 2,681 planets outside the solar system, and even more potential candidates.
It shows us the Earth-sized rocky world, which, like the Earth, may give birth to life.
It also reveals the incredible superearth: A planet larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.
NASA Astrophysical director Paul Hertz estimates that two to a dozen of the planets Kepler has discovered are rocks and earth --Size in so-
It's called blonde.
But he says Kepler's planetary census shows that 20% to 50% of the stars visible in the night sky may have planets like ours living in habitable areas. The US$700-
Last year, millions of missions even helped discover a solar system with eight planets, just like our solar system.
"It completely changes our understanding of where we are in the universe," Hertz said . ".
"Now we know that because of the Kepler space telescope and its scientific mission, planets are more common than stars in our galaxy.
"Kepler was almost lost in 2013 due to equipment failure, and he was salvaged by engineers and kept staring at the universe full of stars and galaxies, always looking for star brightness drops that can indicate orbital planets.
"When the car is traveling 100 miles, it's like trying to detect a flea crawling on the headlights of the car," Borucki said . ".
The resurrection mission, known as K2, on the basis that the telescope has discovered since its launch from Cape Canaveral in March 7, 2009, produced 350 confirmed exoplanets or planets running around other stars.
In conclusion, nearly 4,000 exoplanets have been confirmed in the past 20 years.
Thirty of them, thanks to Kepler.
Kepler focuses on thousands of stars
According to NASA, there is at least one planet around every star in our galaxy.
Boruki, who dreamed of completing the mission decades ago, said one of his favorite discoveries was the Kepler 22b, a water planet larger than Earth but less warm and not too cold.
May lead to the type of life.
"As a successor to the Kepler spacecraft launched in April, NASA's Tess spacecraft targeted stars closer to home.
It has identified some possible planets.
Padi Boyd, a project scientist at Tess, called Kepler's mission "very successful ".
"Kepler showed us that" we live in a galaxy full of planets and we are ready to explore them next, "she said . ".
At the same time, another spaceship that has been chasing the strange world in the solar system for a long time is also close to death. NASA’s 11-year-
After orbiting the asteroid cookers and the dwarf Valley Star, the old Dawn spacecraft had little fuel left.
It is still in orbit around the Valley Star, the same as the stove star, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Two of NASA's old telescopes have recently suffered equipment failures but have recovered. The 28-year-
Last weekend, the old Hubble Space Telescope followed threeweek shutdown. The 19-year-old Chandra X-
Ray Telander's aiming system also failed in October.
Both cases involve the key gyro needed to point to the telescope.
All spacecraft problems are "completely independent" and coincidental in time, Hertz said.
Now 94 million miles from Earth, Kepler should remain in a safe, stable orbit around the sun.
Before bidding for the last "Good Night", the flight controller will disable the launcher of the spacecraft.