<! – -> Artist concept of NASA's first space-based exoplanet hunter, the Kepler Space Telescope. Picture of NASA / Wendy…
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.  A statement from NASA said:
Kepler The missionary investigative investigator, William Borucki, now retired from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, said:
] Leslie Livesay, Director of Astronomy and Physics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who served as Kepler Project Manager during Mission Development, said:
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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