The NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope never ceases to amaze us. The spacecraft has been on its 19th mission since August 29th as it was woken up from his “sleep mode,” even though one of its thrusters was behaving in an “unusual” way, according to updates published by the US space agency. It is also possible that the telescope’s viewing performance may be impaired.
Launched in March 2009, Kepler Space Telescope has had a tumultuous year. He was placed in hibernation last July when TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), NASA’s new planet hunter, began its tests. Kepler’s “sleep mode” was intended to preserve the data of its eighteenth mission that was stored in its internal memory. The data were successfully downloaded on August 9th.
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope helped scientists to locate thousands of exoplanets in our galaxy, the Miky Way, and is now up and ready for one last mission.
NASA’S Kepler Space Telescope woken up for its last mission before giving up to TESS
During almost a decade in space, Kepler Space Telescope faced many dangers, including cosmic ray bombardments. Last March, NASA estimated that the telescope’s fuel reserves should run out in the coming months. But in the absence of a gauge giving precise indications, the autonomy still available to Kepler is unknown.
It is possible that this 19th mission may also be the last, but the small planet hunter could surprise us once again.
Since its launch, the telescope has confirmed the existence of 2,652 exoplanets, 30 of which are located in the habitable zone, the space surrounding a star where a planet could theoretically contain surface water and potentially house extraterrestrial life.
TESS, which has taken over from where Kepler remained, will be able to cover a more substantial portion of the space and has been fully operational since last month. And it has already delivered great images of the Universe.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.