The space telescope Kepler will only work for a few months

The space telescope Kepler will only work for a few months

Informing more about this, Charlie Sobeck, a system engineer for the Kepler Space Telescope Mission stated "Our current estimates are that Kepler's tank will run dry within several months-but we've been surprised by its performance before".

According to recent space study, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope is soon going to end its lifecycle as it's running out of fuel. In that time it has discovered more than 4,500 confirmed and suspected planets, as well as provided new data on the evolution of stars and planetary systems.

The Kepler data will also be plumbed for years as scientists seek to confirm other possible planets in its archive. That's nearly three-quarters of the grand total of alien planets identified by scientists to date.

This Kepler image of Earth was recently beamed back home. For four years, it watched the stars for the telltale dimming that occurs when an exoplanet crosses the face of a star. Captured on December 10, 2017, after the spacecraft adjusted its telescope to a new field of view, Earth's reflection as it slipped past was so extraordinarily bright that it created a saber-like saturation bleed across the instrument's sensors, obscuring the neighboring Moon. The mission is in its second extended operating phase and is known to have a limited lifetime.

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Because right now, all Kepler does is reposition itself to take photographs of distant pockets of space while it moves at a distance of 94 million miles away from Earth, and once the fuel tanks are empty, that's the end of that. NASA was able to salvage the telescope by using the pressure of sunlight on the spacecraft to maintain its position and rebranded the mission as K2. This would allow Kepler to keep looking for exoplanets, albeit with a shorter orbital period. K2 was originally meant to last for 10 "campaigns" of about three months each; it recently began the 17th. It turns out they were overly conservative. Against all odds, phase K2 has already completed 16 campaigns, and is now in the middle of its 17th.

He added that there is no gas gauge on Kepler showing when it might run out of fuel, so the team relies on estimates.

Kepler is now being monitored for warning signs of low fuel, such as a drop in the fuel tank's pressure and changes in the performance of the thrusters.

Life in space has been hard on Kepler.

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