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NASA’s Kepler space telescope is going on surprising us, it wakes up again. The Kepler spacecraft has detected more than 2,650 alien planets.
Space.com claims “NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which has discovered more than 2,650 alien planets to date, emerged from yet another slumber Thursday (Oct. 11), agency officials said”.
[So, mission team members have put the spacecraft to sleep multiple times over the past few months in an effort to ensure there’s enough propellant left for Kepler to orient toward Earth and beam its latest batches of data home].
The space telescope, originally launched in March 2009. Originally, the spacecraft stared at more than 150,000 stars simultaneously, watching for tiny brightness dips that could indicate the passage of orbiting planets across these stars’ faces.
“We are still monitoring the health of the spacecraft while working towards downloading data from Campaign 19,” NASA officials wrote in an update on October 12.
According to the data of Wikipedia “As of January 2015, Kepler and its follow-up observations had found 1,013 confirmed exoplanets in about 440 star systems, along with a further 3,199 unconfirmed planet candidates. Four planets have been confirmed through Kepler’s K2 mission. In November 2013, astronomers estimated, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion rocky, Earth-size exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs within the Milky Way. It is estimated that 11 billion of these planets may be orbiting Sun-like stars. The nearest such planet may be 3.7 parsecs (12 ly) away, according to the scientists. Kepler data has also helped scientists observe and understand supernovae. Science data telemetry collected during mission operations at LASP is sent for processing to the Kepler Data Management Center (DMC) which is located at the Space Telescope Science Institute”.
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