NASA’s alien-hunter has gone dark and scientists aren’t sure why


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NASA’s alien-hunting Kepler Area Telescope has suffered one other malfunction, with the spacecraft returning to sleep mode simply days after it despatched data from its newest marketing campaign again to Earth.

“Following a profitable return of information from the final remark marketing campaign, the Kepler crew commanded the spacecraft into place to start amassing information for its subsequent marketing campaign,” NASA stated on its web site. “On Friday October 19, throughout a recurrently scheduled spacecraft contact utilizing NASA’s Deep Area Community, the crew realized that the spacecraft had transitioned to its no-fuel-use sleep mode. The Kepler crew is presently assessing the trigger and evaluating doable subsequent steps.”

On Oct. 15, NASA was in a position to obtain data from it newest remark marketing campaign, Marketing campaign 19, noting it was “monitoring the spacecraft and can present extra data when its standing has been totally assessed.”


On Aug. 29, Kepler started amassing information for its 19th marketing campaign, although the federal government area company stated on Sept. 5 it had modified the craft’s configuration as a result of  “uncommon habits exhibited by one of many thrusters,” including that it was uncertain how a lot gasoline remained. NASA additionally stated that Kepler’s pointing efficiency was degraded.

On the time, NASA stated it was persevering with to observe the well being and efficiency of Kepler. Through the years, Kepler has suffered significantly. It has even “survived many potential knock-outs throughout its 9 years in flight, from mechanical failures to being blasted by cosmic rays,” NASA famous.

Regardless that Kepler has endured a number of setbacks in latest months, it has been an unquestioned success for NASA, having flown in area for 9 years, surpassing the preliminary estimate of only one 12 months. Throughout that point, the $600 million spacecraft has found a large number of exoplanets, together with Wolf 503b, which is described as “twice the dimensions of Earth” and is 145 light-years away from our planet.

In December 2017, specialists harnessed machine studying expertise from Google to identify one other exoplanet, Kepler-90i. This sizzling, rocky planet circles Kepler-90, a Solar-like star 2,545 mild years from Earth.


In complete, Kepler has found greater than 2,650 confirmed planets over its lifespan, in keeping with

Kepler is slated to get replaced by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite tv for pc (TESS), which left Earth on April 18 on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

In September, TESS discovered its first alien planet, HD 39091, situated roughly 59.5 light-years from Earth and has been dubbed an evaporating “Tremendous-Earth.”

Fox Information’ James Rogers contributed to this story. Comply with Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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