The Kepler spacecraft is no longer able to accurately point with enough accuracy to continue its exo-planet hunting mission.
So last week NASA called off attempts to fix Kepler’s frozen gyroscopes. So now, officials are looking at what science, if any, can be done by the broken spacecraft.
As I have stated before, this doen’t mean that the mission was a failure. Kepler has been operating on extended time since it completed its primary mission ended last November. Kepler has confirmed 135 exo-planets and has identified more than 3,500 candidate planets.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of more exoplanets are expected from the data collected by Kepler. It will take at least another three years to analyze the remaining data.
Considering what a small area of space that Kepler was observing, this was a remarkable mission.
“We literally expect … the most exciting discoveries are to come in the next few years as we search through all this data,” he said.
NASA expects to know by year’s end what can be salvaged for Kepler.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +