NASA says the telescope has "run out of fuel needed for further science operations", so it's retiring the spacecraft within its current safe orbit that's away from Earth.
The founder of the Kepler mission, William Borucki, recalled that when this idea was conceived 35 years ago, humanity "did not know of a single planet" outside the solar system. It worked by looking for the small and temporary dip in the brightness of stars, which are caused by orbiting exoplanets crossing in front of them.
Kepler's "death" is no surprise, as in 2013, mechanical problems precipitated the end of the Kepler Space Telescope's initial mission, which originally was meant to last three and a half years. Herz noted that scientific work is a space Observatory is complete.
Unlike Cassini, whose kamikaze plunge into Saturn was its final, fiery farewell to the universe, Kepler will get a decommissioning command beamed to it from the NASA team on Earth. New research into stars with Kepler data also is furthering other areas of astronomy, such as the history of our Milky Way galaxy and the beginning stages of exploding stars called supernovae that are used to study how fast the universe is expanding. All of the data being collected are publicly accessible and can be downloaded from the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive.
October 30 recorded 3,800 known exoplanets and Kepler was accountable for finding 2,720 of them.
"As the first NASA's research mission of other planets, Kepler has greatly exceeded our expectations and opened the way to our exploration and search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond", said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's scientific direction.
"I'm excited about the diverse discoveries that are yet to come from our data and how future missions will build upon Kepler's results". The latest data, from Campaign 19, will complement the data from NASA's newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, launched in April.
NASA's elite planet-hunting spacecraft has been declared dead, just a few months shy of its 10th anniversary. TESS will follow in the footsteps of NASA's pioneering Kepler Mission, continuing the groundbreaking ... On Tuesday, NASA was able to boost its search for the worldwide planet to know whether these planets can harbour alien life.
A super-computer at the International Space Station aims to bring "cloud" computing to astronauts in space and speed up their ability to run data analysis in orbit, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise said Thursday.