From Joy Roulette
The spacecraft's Kepler fuel has run out and will be out of service after a nine-and-a-half-year mission that has tracked thousands of planets outside our solar system and contributed to the search for worlds that may be inhabited by space creatures, the US space agency said. .
Kepler, now orbiting the sun about 156 million kilometers from Earth, will be further away from our planet when mission engineers turn off wireless transmitters, NASA said on Tuesday.
The telescope revealed the diversity of planets in the Milky Way galaxy by finding that distant star systems encompass billions of planets and also helped detect the first known moon outside the solar system.
The Kepler telescope has detected more than 2,600 of the 3,800 planets outside the solar system that have been documented over the past 20 years.
The telescope was disrupted by 2013, almost four years after its launch, yet scientists found a way to continue working. But the telescope fuel needed to carry out more operations has run out, leaving him out of service.
"Kepler's nine-and-a-half-year journey was more than double the target," said Charlie Subic, a system engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, by telephone.
The probe satellite of the planets outside the solar system, known as the Tiss, was launched in April in Kepler. The TICE mission lasts two years and costs $ 337 million.
NASA launched the Kepler telescope on March 6, 2009 to see if Earth-like planets that may have life are common in other star systems. During his mission, Kepler monitored 2,681 constellations and 2,899 objects that could be a total of 5,580 planets. The figure includes about 50 planets that may be about the same size and temperature of the earth.
"Kepler opened the door to human exploration of the universe," said William Buruki, Kepler's research team leader who became retired.