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Kepler planet hunter retires | space

<! – -> Artist concept of NASA's first space-based exoplanet hunter, the Kepler Space Telescope. Picture of NASA / Wendy Stenzel / Daniel Rutter. Astronomers only began to discover exoplanets – planets that circle stars in other solar systems – in the 1990s, after decades of long search. During this century, the number of known exoplanets exploded in size, mainly because of this spacecraft, the NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, specially designed as a planet hunter. Kepler was launched in a wholehearted helioscentric (solar centered) circulation in 2009. Its mission lasted longer than expected, but now – after nine years in deep space – Kepler has left the fuel needed for further science operations. NASA said this week (October 30, 2018), it has decided to retire for spacecraft within its current safe circulation, away from the ground. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2600 planet findings outside our solar system. It is now over the plane-hunting torch for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in April last year. TESS is based on Kepler's foundation with fine data sets in its search of planets that circle around 200,000 of the brightest and closest stars to the world, worlds that can later be explored for signs of life through missions like NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. [19659005] A statement from NASA said: Kepler has opened our eyes to the plethora of planets found in our galaxy. The latest analysis of Kepler's findings concludes that 20-50 percent of the stars visible in the…

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Artist concept of NASA’s first space-based exoplanet hunter, the Kepler Space Telescope. Picture of NASA / Wendy Stenzel / Daniel Rutter.

Astronomers only began to discover exoplanets – planets that circle stars in other solar systems – in the 1990s, after decades of long search. During this century, the number of known exoplanets exploded in size, mainly because of this spacecraft, the NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, specially designed as a planet hunter. Kepler was launched in a wholehearted helioscentric (solar centered) circulation in 2009. Its mission lasted longer than expected, but now – after nine years in deep space – Kepler has left the fuel needed for further science operations. NASA said this week (October 30, 2018), it has decided to retire for spacecraft within its current safe circulation, away from the ground.

Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2600 planet findings outside our solar system. It is now over the plane-hunting torch for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in April last year. TESS is based on Kepler’s foundation with fine data sets in its search of planets that circle around 200,000 of the brightest and closest stars to the world, worlds that can later be explored for signs of life through missions like NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. [19659005] A statement from NASA said:

Kepler has opened our eyes to the plethora of planets found in our galaxy. The latest analysis of Kepler’s findings concludes that 20-50 percent of the stars visible in the night sky are likely to have small, possibly rocky planets of the same size as the Earth, and are within their parent stars. This means that they are away from their parent stars where floating water – an important ingredient in life as we know it – can hit the surface of the planet.

The most common size of the planet Kepler is not found in our solar system – a world between the size of the earth and the neptune – and we have a lot to learn about these planets. Kepler also found that nature often produces jam-packed planetary systems, in some cases with so many planets circling near their parent stars that our own inner solar system looks sparse compared.

Kepler The missionary investigative investigator, William Borucki, now retired from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, said:

When we began to imagine This mission 35 years ago, we did not know about a single planet outside our solar system. Now that we know that planets are everywhere, Kepler has put us on a new course full of the promise of future generations to explore our galaxy.

The Kepler Space Telescope was launched from the ground on March 6, 2009. It was designed for a ground-moving heliocentric orbit, which gave the spacecraft a thermal stable environment and left it on a single pointing for all the main Kepler -mission. In other words, during his prime mission, Kepler stared at a single spot of sky – with a field of 116 square degrees, containing approximately 150,000 stars – measuring starlight units in that field over and over, looking for minute dots in starlight that would indicate planets in circulation around their stars.

Finds the fact that Kepler found 2,600 planets around the 150,000 stars that we can expect that only a small part of the stars have planets? No, and actually the opposite is true.

To discover planets, Kepler must see a distant solar system, so that the planets passed in front of their stars from Kepler’s point of view. Finding so many edge-on systems among Kepler’s original 150,000 stars probably means that our galaxy – which has more than 100 billion stars – is likely to have hundreds of billions of planets.

] Leslie Livesay, Director of Astronomy and Physics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who served as Kepler Project Manager during Mission Development, said:

The Kepler mission was based on a highly innovative design. It was an extremely smart attitude to do this kind of science. There were definitely challenges, but Kepler had an extremely talented team of researchers and engineers who overcome them.

Four years in the Kepler mission, after the primary mission goals were met, mechanical failures stopped temporary observations. The mission team could prepare a fix, change the spacecraft field of vision approximately every three months. This enabled an extended mission for spacecraft called K2, which lasted for the first time, and supported Kepler’s count of investigated stars up to over 500,000. The NASA statement said:

The observation of so many stars has enabled researchers to better understand stellar behaviors and characteristics, which is critical information when studying the planets that circle them. New research on stars with Kepler data also promotes other areas of astronomy, such as our Milky Way galaxy’s history and the beginning of exploding stars called supernovae used to study how fast the universe is expanding. The data from the extended assignment were also made available to the public and the science community immediately, so discoveries can be done at an incredible rate and set a high bar for other assignments. Researchers are expected to spend a decade or more looking for new discoveries in the treasure of data provided by Kepler.

Jessie Dotson, Kepler’s project researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, pointed out that Kepler’s discoveries are still coming:

We know that spacecraft retirement is not the end of Kepler’s discoveries. I am excited about the various discoveries that are not yet derived from our data and how future missions will be based on Kepler’s results.

Bottom line: NASA has now officially resigned the highly successful Kepler planet hunter after nine years in space. Much of what we know about exoplanets today comes from the Kepler mission.

Read more: Kepler space telescope features

Visit NASA’s exoplanet archive

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Via NASA

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