NASA Retires Kepler Telescope, the Most Prolific Planet Hunter of All Time

NASA Retires Kepler Telescope, the Most Prolific Planet Hunter of All Time

The space agency has finally chose to decommission Kepler, which has run out of fuel and closed its telescopic eyes forever, while it is still orbiting safely away from Earth.

"When we started conceiving this mission 35 years ago, we didn't know of a single planet outside our solar system", said the Kepler mission's founding principal investigator, William Borucki.

Kepler was launched in 2009 and was expected to continue transmissions from the largest digital space camera then in use for three and a half years. Four years into the mission, osbervations were halted by mechanical failures. That kept things going for another five years, but Kepler's work is now complete.

The Kepler space telescope can not any more forage for planets orbiting other stars concluding the nine and half year mission representatives from the agency declared in a news conference. Exoplanets are the stars which are said to be orbiting outside of the solar system. On October 30, 2018 NASA announced that Kepler had run out of fuel and would be decommissioned.

This new telescope has laid with the bare of the diversity of planets which have to reside in our Milky Way galaxy. But after that scientists have found their way to keep it in operational mode but now as telescope has run out of fuel, the telescope has now retired from the mission.

All NASA's data about these planets are now publicly available in the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes. This will allow scientists to make new discoveries even if Kepler's mission has officially ended. The most recent analysis of Kepler's discoveries concludes that 20 to 50 percent of the stars visible in the night sky are likely to have small, possibly rocky, planets similar in size to Earth, and located within the habitable zone of their parent stars.

"The Kepler mission was based on a very innovative design".

NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

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

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