Let’s wish Kepler a good bye folks!! NASA has finally quit on Kepler Spacecraft! The US Space administration has decided to stop making any effort to get it back working and the last attempt made at recovering the reaction wheels of the Kepler Observatory was unsuccessful and could not be fixed according to the NASA officials.
Kepler Space Telescope bids a good bye?
The hunting days of the gimpy NASA Kepler space telescope seem to be over as the damage to its reaction wheels or its positioning system is irreparable confirm sources from NASA. The Kepler Space observatory had been set up way back in 2009 and was sent out hunting for planets the size of Earth and their parent stars.
It was searching for the presence of liquid water on the planets. It was sensitized to sense a dip in the light emitted by a star. This slight dip indicated that a planet was passing by. Almost nothing could escape the line of vision of the telescope and it used to peer steadily on at least 100,000 target stars!
Will this be an end to its alien world hunt mission? Maybe, but they say that the exact precision with which Kepler has dug out beyond the Solar system, and unleashed 135 planets, that had been orbiting different stars, will now be a thing of the past. In the month of May, the telescope lost the use of its equipment.
The side by side and ,up and down motion of the telescope was maintained by three wheels that kept spinning. In July 2012 Kepler had to make use of the fourth wheel when it faced a wheel failure. The NASA team put in months of efforts and analysis, to get the Kepler Observatory back to peer closely at the Milky May,, by working at the jammed wheels, but they were unsuccessful in their attempts.
Talking about the damaged reaction wheels and the failure to recover them by the mission managers, Charles Sobeck, Kepler deputy project manager at Nasa's Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California, stated “The wheels are sufficiently damaged that they cannot sustain spacecraft pointing control for any extended period of time."
Kepler Observatory alternative uses
But there is still some hope for Kepler, states NASA. The Observatory can be utilized still for looking at comets, celestial objects, and asteroids. It’s just the precise positioning that has been snatched out of Kepler’s hands. It is a concerning factor for NASA as the Kepler project snaps away about $18-million a year, so they really need to shift their focus to some alternative Kepler missions.
It was the Kepler expertise that made the scientists make out the difference between a stellar flare, an eclipsing neighbor star or presence of a passing planet. There is still about two years worth data collected by Kepler that still awaits analysis by the NASA teams but to assess details they need about 3-4 years data.
Talking about another planet the size of Earth that may have life on it ,William Borucki, Kepler lead scientist states finally “I'm confident that we are going to find what we expected ... but we're going to have to work hard for the next couple of years.