Kepler Spacecraft’s Fuel Tank Is Running Very Low

Posted: Jul 8 2018, 8:08am CDT | by , Updated: Jul 8 2018, 11:40pm CDT, in Latest Science News


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Kepler Spacecraft’s Fuel Tank is Running Very Low
Credit: NASA

NASA has placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state to download the most recent science data

After spending almost a decade in space, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft is nearing the end of its journey. Kepler team says that the spacecraft is now running very low on fuel and has entered hibernation like state. The change in the mode has caused spacecraft to temporarily cease its science observations.

While the spacecraft hibernates the mission team will download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign. Once the data has been downloaded, Kepler will resume its campaign with remaining fuel.

“Since May 12, Kepler has been on its 18th observation campaign, staring at a patch of sky towards the constellation of Cancer it previously studied in 2015. The data from this second look will provide astronomers with an opportunity to confirm previous exoplanet candidates and discover new ones. Returning the data back to Earth is the highest priority for the remaining fuel.” NASA statement said.

Kepler will point its large antenna in the direction of Earth to transmit data. But the data will be delivered only during a specific period which is scheduled in early August. The team will begin its 19th observation campaign on August 6 after completing the download.

Launched in 2009, Kepler was the first planet-hunting mission of its kind. It used transit method to find planets orbiting around the stars. But in 2013, a mechanical failure ended Kepler’s primary mission. Researchers repurposed the spacecraft by changing its field of view and named this extended mission K2. Both original and extended mission made huge contributions to the discovery of exoplanets. Kepler will continue its observations as long as the fuel allows.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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