NASA's planet-hunting telescope Kepler running out of fuel
NASA's Kepler telescope, which helps hunt for new planets in outer space, has almost run out of fuel, the space agency received an indication recently. That is why NASA is putting the telescope into a "hibernation-like" state. The space agency is also preparing to download the data that Kepler has collected in its latest observation campaign.
NASA said, "The Kepler team is planning to collect as much science data as possible in its remaining time and beam it back to Earth before the loss of the fuel-powered thrusters." "It's like trying to decide when to gas up your car. Do you stop now? We want to stop collecting data while we're still comfortable," it added.
Launched in 2009, Kepler is some 94 million miles away from Earth. So far, it has continuously monitored over 150,000 stars and discovered over 4,600 potential planets and exoplanets, according to data provided by NASA. Kepler's main aim is to learn more about the number of planets in our galaxy, mostly the Cygnus-Lyra region.
In 2016, the Kepler telescope went into emergency mode due to unknown reasons. This led to NASA declaring a temporary "spacecraft emergency" as it was working to get the telescope back online.