Kepler Telescope Recovered

April 12, 2016 by  

Kepler Telescope Recovered, The Kepler space telescope is now “stable,” according to ABC News, following an alarming discovery last week that found the planet-hunting probe had slipped into emergency mode, putting a planned science mission in jeopardy.

“On Sunday morning, the spacecraft reached a stable state with the communication antenna pointed toward Earth, enabling telemetry and historical event data to be downloaded to the ground. The spacecraft is operating in its lowest fuel-burn mode,” Charlie Sobeck, Kepler mission manager, said in a NASA update posted online Tuesday.

The space telescope, which has been an effective planet hunter for NASA, had gone into emergency mode some 75 million miles away from Earth, the space agency reported Friday.

Mission operations engineers discovered on Thursday that the spacecraft was in emergency mode while conducting a routine, scheduled contact with the telescope.

“(Emergency mode) is the lowest operational mode and is fuel intensive,” Charlie Sobeck, the Kepler and K2 mission manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said in a statement. “Recovering from EM is the team’s priority at this time.”

NASA said that it appeared the space telescope went into emergency mode last week, before mission operations started pointing it toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

“The last regular contact with the spacecraft was on April 4,” Sobeck wrote for NASA. “The spacecraft was in good health and operating as expected. Kepler completed its prime mission in 2012, detecting nearly 5,000 exoplanets, of which, more than 1,000 have been confirmed.”

Just last month, NASA praised the success of the telescope in connection with the conclusion of its K2 mission. It now continues to search for exoplanets while studying young stars, supernovae, and other space objects.

“The spacecraft has operated beautifully, with scarcely a whiff of trouble,” NASA said in a March statement. “As part of our K2 mission strategy, we’ve relaxed the fault or sensitivity limits and taken on a bit more risk so that we wouldn’t have to interrupt the observing to correct minor issues.”

Forbes magazine wrote that Kepler was launched in 2009 for an original three-year mission. Along with detecting nearly 5,000 exoplanets, 12 are roughly the same mass as Earth and near a star’s habitable zone.

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