NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope retires after nine years exploring space

Christopher Davidson
November 4, 2018

NASA's prolific Kepler Space Telescope has run out of fuel, agency officials announced on October 30, 2018.

Numerous planets Kepler found around these stars are potentially habitable, yet have years that last only a few days. The European Space Agency is now testing the CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (Cheops), which will accurately measure the density of planets around other stars to determine if they are rocky planets like Earth.

"If you only pick out the ones that are getting toward the end of their life then you can make a story, but if you look at the entire portfolio of spacecraft, I don't think we have a problem at all, I think we are in a golden age of NASA science", Hertz said. Kepler has also identified thousands more possible planets that are pending further investigation.

These planets are within the habitable zone of their stars and may have liquid water.

Scientists have studied the living conditions of the children of Neanderthals
The fossilized teeth belonging to the two Neanderthal children were recovered Payre, a site in the Rhone Valley, southeast France. During childhood, new layers of teeth are formed each day , causing chemical signatures that scientists can track.

"Not only did it show us how many planets could be out there, it sparked an entirely new and robust field of research that has taken the science community by storm", Zurbuchen said.

"Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars", he added.

NASA launched the Kepler telescope on March 6, 2009, in a bid to find out if Earth-like planets that may harbour life are common or rare in other star systems.

"When we started conceiving this mission 35 years ago we didn't know of a single planet outside our solar system", Kepler mission's founding principal investigator, William Borucki, said in the statement. The knowledge that there are planets scattered everywhere opens almost endless possibilities, and keeps pushing expectations for Kepler's successor TESS and other upcoming missions.

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