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Farewell, Kepler: NASA’s planet
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting telescope now belongs to the ages, with its fuel completely spent and its instruments shut down — but the planet quest continues, thanks to a treasure trove of downloaded data as well as a new generation of robotic planet-hunters. Space agency officials declared the end of spacecraft operations today, nine and a half years after the car-sized probe was launched. The hydrazine fuel ran out about two weeks ago, signaled by a sharp drop in pressure readings for the propulsion system. “In the end, we didn’t have a drop of fuel left over for anything else,” Charlie Sobeck, project… Read More read more
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