The elite planet-hunting spacecraft has been officially declared dead by the NASA officials, just a few months before the telescope was about to reach 10th anniversary. According to Advocator, Kepler was declared dead on 30 October.
The old telescope has been working for the past 9 and a half years and has been running low on fuel in the last months. However, scientists were ready to gather all the observations gathered these months before the telescope went silent.
“Kepler opened the gate for mankind’s exploration of the cosmos,” stated the retired NASA scientist William Borucki, who was the leader of the original Kepler team.
The telescope has discovered in its long missions 2,681 exoplanets and a lot more planet candidate. Among those planets, there were many of them in the habitable zone of their stars. Some were giant, others were smaller than Neptune, and some were Earth-like. In the Goldilocks zone, Kepler observed many rocky and Earth-sized planets.
Revolutionizing the “Understanding of Our Place in the Cosmos”
According to the average of the stars and planets analyzed, Kepler’s data shows that 20-50% of the stars visible on the night sky have planets like ours that are in the habitable zone for life, says Paul Hertz, the astrophysics director at NASA:
“It has revolutionized our understanding of our place in the cosmos. Now we know because of the Kepler Space Telescope and its science mission that planets are more common than stars in our galaxy.”
Kepler had some difficulties in 2013, but engineers figured a way to fix and continue the mission which then was renamed as K2. During the K2 mission, the telescope observed 350 confirmed exoplanets over the ones discovered since it began its work in 2009.
Kepler has discovered two-thirds of the exoplanets known to scientists – and statistics showed that every star in the Milky Way has at least one planet that orbits it.
Kepler’s mission is being continued by its successor, TESS, which will use the same technique to discover even more exoplanets and even alien life, as it has better and more developed technology.
The telescope will remain in a safe and stable orbit around the sun at 94 million miles away from Earth.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.