NASA announced the completion of the mission first hunter of exoplanets

NASA announced the completion of the mission first hunter of exoplanets

High-quality data from ground-based telescopes requires long observations on the largest telescopes-precious resources that limit the number of planets that can be observed.We now know that there are at least as many planets in the galaxy as there are stars, and many of those planets are quite unlike what we have here in the solar system. In addition to the Kepler data, the archive also offers community-provided data sets for further scientific discoveries.

Since 2009 the telescope has played a massive role in exploring places outside of the solar system - in fact, it has discovered more than 2600 planets, many of which could possibly support life. "We always try to get as much science as we can out of our spacecraft", Paul Hertz, NASA's head of astrophysics in the Science Mission Directorate, said during the news conference, adding that the agency has more than 60 science spacecraft at work right now. Originally positioned to stare continuously at 150,000 stars in one star-studded patch of the sky in the constellation Cygnus, Kepler took the first survey of planets in our galaxy and became the agency's first mission to detect Earth-size planets in the habitable zones of their stars. Although not confirmed, they may also be able to harbour liquid water - a vital ingredient to life.

"The Kepler mission was based on a very innovative design".

Four years into the mission, after the primary mission objectives had been met, some mechanical failures temporarily halted observations. "It was an extremely clever approach to doing this kind of science", said Leslie Livesay, director for astronomy and physics at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who served as Kepler project manager during mission development.

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This image was spotted as part of Hubble mission to better understand how new stars are born.

The Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes or MAST at the Space Telescope Science Institute will make the data accumulated over almost a decade of deep space observation available to the public.

NASA stressed that "many" of the exoplanets discovered through Kepler "could be promising places for life". Luckily for planet hunters, NASA's TESS mission launched in April and will take over the exoplanet search.Kepler's HistoryThe Kepler mission was conceived in the early 1980s by NASA scientist Bill Borucki, with later help from David Koch. "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".

And those high-profile finales come in the midst of a spree of other spacecraft troubles: the Opportunity rover on Mars remains silent almost five months after a planet-engulfing dust storm, and the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory were both briefly offline in October. Kepler telescope had been running low on fuel for months.