On April 18, 2018, Kepler's planet-hunting successor, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), was launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. "Our current estimates are that Kepler's tank will run dry within several months".
Almost out of fuel after nine years of trail-blazing searches for exoplanets, NASA's' Kepler satellite has been put in a state of electronic hibernation in preparation for downloading stored data from its latest observation campaign.
Flight controllers placed the planet-hunting spacecraft into hibernation last week to save energy. The highest priority for Kepler's remaining fuel is to return the data back to Earth.
In its nine-year run, the space telescope has had its fair share of trouble: it slipped into emergency mode earlier in 2016 due to unknown reasons making the NASA declare a temporary "spacecraft emergency" while the space agency worked to bring the telescope back online.More news: Liverpool-supporting Tranmere player brands Loris Karius 'f****** s***' after latest error
The report explains that Kepler must turn its large antenna toward Earth and wait for the allotted Deep Space Network time to transmit the data. If the maneuver and download are successful, the team will begin its 19 observation campaign on August 6 with the remaining fuel.
Once the data has been downloaded, the expectation is to start observations for the next campaign with any remaining fuel, the announcement added.
Launched in 2009, Kepler has endured mechanical failures and other mishaps.
The Kepler Space Telescope has been in a heliocentric orbit around Earth since 2009.More news: Police officer harasses woman for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Reborn as "K2", this extended mission requires the spacecraft to shift its field of view to new portions of the sky roughly every three months in what scientists refer to as a "campaign".
The spacecraft was given a new lease on life by using the pressure of sunlight to maintain its pointing, like a kayak steering into the current. The Kepler mission has borne a lot of information and given astronomers a lot to work with.
But scientists now know that its life is coming to end very soon. The most renowned mission, the Kepler Space Telescope, helped researchers find thousands of planets outside our solar system in their search for a far-distant "sister" of our planet. What makes Tatooine one of the most freaky exoplanets ever found is that it is orbiting two host stars which make it be a circumbinary planet.More news: #WorldCup - Croatia vs England preview