NASA's planet hunter, Kepler Space Telescope will sleep soon: Here’s why

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Flipboard
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
NASA’s $600 million Kepler mission was launched in March 2009 and now it is running short of fuel.
NASA’s $600 million Kepler mission was launched in March 2009 and now it is running short of fuel.

New Delhi : The iconic Kepler Space Telescope of NASA is about to stop functioning as the spacecraft is running short of fuel. The telescope has discovered 70 percent of the 3,750 exoplanets till date. For now, agency has put it into a hibernation-like state, agency officials announced on July 6 

"To bring the data home, the spacecraft must point its large antenna back to Earth and transmit the data during its allotted Deep Space Network time, which is scheduled in early August," NASA officials wrote in a statement today.

"Until then, the spacecraft will remain stable and parked in a no-fuel-use safe mode," they added. "On Aug. 2, the team will command the spacecraft to awaken from its no-fuel-use state and maneuver the spacecraft to the correct orientation and downlink the data."

NASA’s $600 million Kepler mission was launched in March 2009, with the goal of helping astronomers decide just how common Earth-like planets are throughout the Milky Way galaxy. The spacecraft finds alien worlds via the "transit method," noticing the tiny brightness dips caused when orbiting planets cross a star's face from Kepler's perspective.

Kepler telescope has been extremely successful by any measure. For example, in addition to its striking raw planet tally the spacecraft's observations suggest that about 20 percent of sunlike stars host a roughly Earth-size planet in the habitable zone and the right range of distances where liquid water could exist on a world's surface.